Morrisville scored the winning goal with 2:16 left in and added an empty netter to defeat Potsdam, 5-3, in a seesaw battle.
“I thought it was a great college hockey game,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “It’s been talked a lot at this point in the season the parity in the league. I think there’s truth to that in this game. There were two hard working teams going head to head. I was really pleased with the way we played tonight.”
The teams were tied at one after one and at two after two. Then, they were momentarily tied at three late in the third before Bobby Cass became the hero.
Cass took the initial shot skating deep in the zone. After Trevor O’Neill made the save, Cass continued towards the net, picking up his own rebound, and banged it home as he crashed over the goaltender.
“Just an effort goal,” Grady said. “Bob has really stepped up his game. Credit Bob. He put it on goal, followed it up to the net, and it found a way in.”
Morrisville had a jump in their step right from the opening faceoff. The first half of the opening period was virtually played in its entirety in the Potsdam zone. Despite numerous opportunities by the Mustangs including hitting the post, being robbed by a wicked glove save, and shooting wide on a fast paced two-on-one, it remained scoreless. Until the last minute of the period.
However, it was Potsdam that broke the ice with 1:04 left. Nick Leigh from the corner fed Spencer Noyes sitting in front of the net. His one-timer left Caylin Relkoff with no chance.
Morrisville was not going to be denied after such a dominant period and tied it up with 8.5 seconds left. Cass, racing down the left side, let go of a wrister which sailed over Trevor O’Neill’s left shoulder into the opposite upper corner.
It didn’t take long for Potsdam to regain the lead when the second period started. Fraser Smith skated straight down the middle unmarked and took a feed from his right from Sy Nutkevitch. Smith didn’t waste the opportunity, firing it over Relkoff’s left shoulder at 4:56.
“There’s a calmness about them,” Grady said about his team not getting down after falling behind twice. “We really bought into the 60 minutes effort. We know there’s ebbs and flows to the game and not everything is going to go our way. We really try to stay calm in intense situations.”
Sure enough, the Mustangs rebounded again, tying the score at 14:39. Dana Calderone, while being knocked to the ice, still managed to get a shot off that fooled O’Neill, barely crossing the line.
In the third, Morrisville finally scored first to start things off. A giveaway by Potsdam resulted in Calderone with the puck between the face off circles. He fed Alarie down low who pushed a soft shot at the net. The puck slowly bounced off the near post and trickled across the line at 1:37.
Potsdam desperately tied to get the tying goal, and finally did with 3:23 left in regulation. Connor Treacy, surprisingly, got behind the defense for a breakaway after being fed by Zach Juliano. Treacy, while being tripped from behind, still managed to get the shot off that went in five-hole.
However, Morrisville would not allow themselves to get down, and Cass scored the game winner a minute later.
Potsdam called time out with 1:41 left and pulled their goaltender. Morrisville fought the pressure off, finally getting the puck to center ice, where Geoff Matzel shot it into the open net for the clincher.
“What I was most pleased with tonight is the way we responded,” Grady said. “We were down and we came back. They scored first, we came back and scored. They scored late to tie the game, we scored a minute later.”
Relkoff got the win with 31 saves. O’Neill took the loss making 44 saves.
Morrisville (3-2-0 overall, 2-1-0 in SUNYAC) stays home to face Plattsburgh Saturday night in another SUNYAC contest.
Potsdam (2-3-0, 2-3-0) has the rest of the weekend off and resumes play next Friday at Fredonia.