FREDONIA, N.Y. — “It was a typical Fredonia-Buffalo State game.”
Those apt words were spoken by Buffalo State’s coach, Nick Carriere after his team scored with 23.9 seconds left in overtime to win, 2-1.
Shane Avery scored his first collegiate goal, and he couldn’t have picked a better time.
The play started with a transition after taking the puck away in the neutral zone. A quick cross-ice pass and an equally quick shot by Nick Petriello should have won the game at that point. However, Mark Friesen made a spectacular, completely stretched out kick save.
“I saw our goaltender make a lights out save,” Fredonia head coach Jeff Meredith said.
However, because Friesen was in the split and out of balance, he couldn’t get to the puck sitting just outside his toe’s reach. No Fredonia player was nearby to clear it as Avery was the first on the scene. It took a couple of whacks, but he finally got the puck to cross the line to silence the home crowd.
“Our guys, kind of like all night, watched and watched and Buffalo State said thank you, a couple of whacks and bang,” Meredith said.
It was also a battle of freshmen goaltenders with both Friesen (36 saves) and Kevin Carr (39 saves) keeping both their teams in the game.
“He bailed his team out countless times tonight,” Meredith said of Friesen. “Our goaltender played so well that if he doesn’t we’re buried in our own rink.”
“Carr’s been given us chances to win the past three nights,” Carriere said. “He’s been excellent so far for us, making the key saves and hopefully stealing one for us ever once in a while.”
Buffalo State got on the scoreboard first with 1:02 left in the first period on their third power play opportunity. A quick rush into the zone left players with room to skate. Zach Hale, from the top of the right faceoff circle, gave a cross ice pass to Justin Knee at the bottom of the left circle. Carr overplayed the initial opponent, and Knee had a wide open net to place his one-timer.
Another goal late in a period, this time by Fredonia at 17:38, tied the game at one apiece after two periods. A huge scrum in front of the net with seemingly everyone in the Buffalo State crease somehow resulted in the puck getting jammed in by Jordan Oye.
The middle period saw a few good scoring opportunities. Fredonia’s Bill Sanborn went down the right side on a semi-breakaway, but his shot went wide on the far side. Buffalo State’s James Durham stole the puck right in front of the Fredonia net. However, it was too close, and unable to make much of a move, Friesen made the stop.
Overall, Friesen had to come up with the more difficult stops, including a dandy glove save from a close range shot, in the second period.
“Throughout that second period we had plenty of opportunities,” Carriere said.
Carr had to come up big early in the third period as Fredonia started upping the pressure, including stopping a semi-breakaway. Then, he was really put to work when the Bengals took two consecutive penalties, providing plenty of chances for Fredonia.
“I thought we did a nice job sticking with the plan,” Carriere said. “And believing that eventually if we continue to do that we’ll be rewarded.”
“I thought we go beat up by Buffalo State,” Meredith said. “I thought we got outworked by Buffalo State. I thought we got out battled by Buffalo State. I think we got exactly what we deserved.”
This is the only game for both teams this weekend as they both will play at home next weekend against Geneseo and Brockport.
Buffalo State (1-2) gets Brockport first while Fredonia (1-4, 1-2) goes up against Geneseo on Friday.