BUFFALO — In another close, thrilling Fredonia-Buffalo State game, the teams battled to a 3-3 overtime tie. Twice, Buffalo State held two-goal leads, only to see Fredonia fight back.
“It was a fun game to coach in,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “I wish we had 25 like this. It’s turning into a real special rivalry. I don’t think either team had a lot of grade A chances five-on-five. Both teams defended really well. We were down 3-1 and just in full scramble mode.”
“We didn’t play very well in the first period,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “It took us some time to get going. The second period we started getting back to our game plan.”
Each team was feeling each other out in the scoreless first period, a routine that usually lasts a few minutes instead of all 20. The tight-checking, conservative play produced few scoring chances, none of them great, including one power-play opportunity for each side.
After the quiet first period, an early second period burst within 46 seconds gave Buffalo State a 2-0 lead, only to have Fredonia quickly get one back.
It started at 2:29 when a shot from the left point was saved by Mark Friesen, but the rebound came way out to the right point. There, Clay Lewis fired a one-timer slap shot which sailed into the net untouched.
Shortly afterward, a defensive breakdown found the Bengals with two men alone down low with Drew Klin in possession of the puck. He dished it off to the right to James Durham, who easily redirected it into the open side of the net.
Three minutes later, a bouncing puck in front of the net eluded Kevin Carr. Bradley Nunn got credit for the goal to cut the lead in half.
Midway through the period, Buffalo State took a penalty, and wound up taking advantage of it, scoring a short-hander. Trevor McKinney skated with the puck down the left side. He shoveled it forward to Justin Knee, who pushed it toward the net through Friesen’s five-hole.
After the goal, Meredith pulled Friesen in favor of Jeff Holloway.
“We needed something,” Meredith said. “It was no fault of Friesen’s. One goal was a two-on-oh backdoor. The other goal was a short-hander breakaway. I was pulling him because I was looking for a wake-up call. I thought Holloway did a great job coming in. I was very impressed.”
Seconds later, Buffalo State had a two-on-none short-handed breakaway, but they mishandled the puck. On the next power play, Buffalo State again had another breakaway, but Klin fanned on the shot after making a move that beat the goaltender.
“That was the difference,” Carriere said. “We’re all about opportunities.”
Buffalo State’s steady stream of penalties finally caught up with them, as Fredonia scored a power-play goal with 1:36 left in the second to cut the lead to one once again. Nunn’s shot from the left point to the opposite side was perfectly deflected by Jared Wynia just inside the near post.
“Converting on that power play was huge for us,” Meredith said. “It got us back to within one, and now we can settle back down and play some hockey.”
“We got into consistent penalty trouble,” Carriere said. “We killed a bunch of them off. A couple of bounces and we ended up where we ended up.”
It didn’t take long at the start of the third period for Fredonia to tie the game. Bryan Ross skated the puck out of the left corner, and from a difficult angle, put it over Carr’s far shoulder just inside the upper corner of the net at 5:29.
Both teams had decent chances down the stretch and in overtime, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Buffalo State (4-3-1, 5-4-1) travels to Utica for a nonconference game.
Fredonia (2-3-3, 4-3-3) also plays a nonconference game on the road tomorrow at Elmira.