FREDONIA, N.Y. — It was another thriller between Fredonia and Buffalo State. Appropriately, for the second time this year, the game ended in a tie, 3-3, after an end-to-end overtime.
These two rivals always seem to crank up the excitement when they meet, even when the night was already a special one with the “Pink the Rink.” For the second year in a row, Fredonia wore pink jerseys and pink socks for a fundraiser in the fight against cancer. Even the referees wore pink armbands.
After the game, the players lined up and literally took their shirts off their backs and presented them to the winners of the silent auction. This event, which garnered worldwide attention last year, continues to be very well supported by the school and community, as they packed Steele Hall Ice Arena to standing room only.
“What a great turnout tonight,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “The support we get down here in Fredonia is fantastic. For so many people to come out and support a great cause, it’s a great environment. We raised a lot of money for a great cause.”
Perhaps even more shocking than the pink uniforms was the fact a Fredonia-Buffalo State game only had one power play the entire 65 minutes (there were two coincidental minors called).
“I thought our guys did a nice job,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “I think we did a pretty good job passing it around their trap and possessing the puck down low and getting some good chances.”
The teams traded the first two goals of the game 1:01 apart. Buffalo State struck first.
Nick Petriello picked up a rebound from a Cory Park shot to the far left side at a difficult angle. However, since Kody Van Rentergem lost his balance from the initial shot on the right side, the goalie was unable to cover the other side of the net. Thus, despite the difficult angle, Petriello had a relatively easy goal, finding the open portion of the net.
Fredonia tied it when Jordan Oye won the faceoff straight back to Alex Morton at the right point. Morton took a stoppable shot, but Alan Fritch did not seem to see it through the screen, as it also took some redirections off players. The puck went in just inside the far post.
Two unanswered goals in the second period gave Fredonia a 3-1 lead. Oye was allowed to skate by the defense, finding himself alone down low against Fritch. Oye cut to the right and put it past the outstretched leg at 3:40. Then, Chris de Bruyn put in a wraparound at 8:18.
Buffalo State got the first power play of the night and took advantage of it, cutting the lead to 3-2 at 12:17. Will Lacasse fired a bullet from the right point that was stopped in front. However, Van Rentergem couldn’t find the rebound. Kevin Kozlowski did, and shot it in.
The Bengals tied the game at 10:20 of the third period on the easiest goal Jim Durham will probably ever score. Van Rentergem misplayed the puck behind the net, and it bounced in front of the goal. Van Rentergem didn’t appear to know it was now sitting in front of an unguarded net. Durham was thus able to easily shoot it into the open net.
“How many goals with the goalie out of the net?” Meredith said in frustration. “Two goals. Come on.”
Fredonia thought they had the go-ahead goal minutes later, but the net had been knocked off, by a Fredonia player, just before the puck went in, and the refs waived it off.
The overtime was an exciting skating affair, as both teams put caution to the wind, trying to win the game at all costs.
“Our guys get jacked up for this game,” Carriere said. “Our having been five or six times against these guys not being able to get two points in the last times we played them, it kind of rags on our guys. They really wanted to win this thing like no other. Unfortunately, we woke up too late.”
“One point is not helping,” Meredith said. “You need two points. We only have three games left, so we need some points.”
Fredonia outshot Buffalo State 53-39, as Fritch made 50 saves and Van Rentergem stopped 36.
Fredonia (4-12-5, 2-7-4) stays in eighth place, two teams and two points out of a playoff spot. They next play at Morrisville on Friday.
Buffalo State (8-10-4, 3-6-4) remains in a battle with Cortland and Geneseo for the last playoff spot. They also travel to Morrisville for a Saturday night game.