BROCKPORT, N.Y. — Perhaps it’s appropriate Potsdam chose the Halloween weekend as the time to exorcise their recent demons at Brockport. The Tuttle North Ice Arena was where the Bears season came to an end the past two seasons in the playoffs.
Led by a Colin MacLennan hat trick, 26 saves by Trevor O’Neill, and a controversial goal that turned the tide, Potsdam defeated Brockport, 5-2, to open the 2010-11 SUNYAC campaign.
“O’Neill was very strong tonight. He was on time as we like to say with key stops at key moments of the game,” Potsdam head coach Chris Bernard said. “I thought it was a solid team effort all the way around. We had good puck pursuit. We had good contributions all the way up and down the lineup. So we are pleased. They are a good hockey club. They pushed us hard. It’s good to get points on the road.”
“We did not play well in the second period,” Brockport head coach Brian Dickinson said. They really took it to us. They kept pouring it on. They outworked us.”
The key moment of the game came early in the second period with the score tied, 1-1. Fraser Smith took a shot that smacked the underside of the crossbar, came down, and was covered up by Oliver Wren on the goal line. The referee, who was right on the line on the side of the net where the shot went, initially did not call the goal when it hit the crossbar, but did so when it came down. The refs then checked with the goal judge to confirm their call. Wren strongly argued.
“From my angle, that’s a bar and down,” Bernard said who had the bench closest to that net. “It was in the net. Obviously, the ref was in a great position. He called it right away as a goal. If you were on the other side of that, you want to make an argument. From our end of the rink, from our vantage point, I felt it was a real sound shot and found the back of the net.”
“I don’t thinks it was in,” Dickinson said. “I really don’t think it was in. Ollie didn’t think it was in. From my angle, it clearly hit the bar and came straight down into the crease. The official agreed, but he felt our goalie carried it into the net. It was under his pads, so I’m not sure how he could rule that. Integral part of the
That came at 4:30 and about nine minutes later freshman Brandon Couto made it 3-1 with his first collegiate goal. It came after intense pressure by Potsdam kept the puck in Brockport’s zone for an extended period of time. Finally, with a number of tries up close, Wren appeared to either lose sight of the puck or thought it was already in. Couto, standing at the post, stuffed the loose puck in.
Brockport’s one and only strong chance in the second period came on a two-on-one, but the Golden Eagle player whiffed on the one-timer.
Brockport came out in the third period trying to mount a comeback, but O’Neill turned them away each time. The Bears finally got the insurance goal at 11:06 when MacLennan in the slot, redirected a shot by Matt Miller past Wren.
Just over two minutes later, MacLennan made it 5-1 with his hat trick. From the right side, he received a cross-ice pass from David Carr and one-timed a blast into the net.
Mike Hayward got one back for the home team on the power play at 17:26 off a rebound from in close.
The first period was Brockport’s strongest stanza, as they used all the ice spreading the game out.
“We’re trying to learn to play without the puck,” Dickinson said.
The Golden Eagles got on the board first for the second game in a row at 12:15 on a beautiful finesse play. James Cody danced around one defender, then dropped it down low to Tom Galiani. O’Neill was overaggressive on the play, and Galiani skated around him and easily deposited it into the open net.
Brockport nearly made it 2-0 when Brett Jendra went in on a clean breakaway. O’Neill stood his ground to make the save. The rebound came out to Hayward, but the net had been knocked off, so his shot that went in did not count.
Just before the period ended at 18:56, Potsdam tied the game on a four-on-three power play. It was MacLennan’s first goal, once again one timing a cross-crease pass, this time from Sy Nutkevitch.
Wren wound up with 28 saves.
“I don’t think he’s our problem,” Dickinson said. “We obviously have to score more goals. Wren over two games has been nothing short of spectacular for us.”
Brockport (1-1, 0-1) stays home to face Plattsburgh, who lost to Geneseo tonight, 7-3.
Potsdam (1-0) travels to Geneseo to face the Ice Knights.