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College Hockey:
Zannella’s OT winner rallies Buffalo State past Geneseo

— Buffalo State turned the tables from its first meeting with Geneseo, mounting a come-from-behind overtime victory over Geneseo on Friday night.

The Bengals fell behind 3-0 before scoring four unanswered goals for the 4-3 win.

Mike Zannella scored the game winner with 19 seconds left, knocking in a rebound from in close after his team killed off three minutes of penalties in the extra period.

“I just got to the front and made a tip,” Zannella said. “Shane Avery dug the puck out of the corner and gave it to [Matt] Bessing. I got to give credit to Bessing. He made a great play to get the puck on net.”

“The puck rolled around the half wall,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “Had a lane and got it on net and Mike Zannella was right in front in a very good position with his back to the goaltender. He tipped it and the puck found a hole. It was pretty similar to the way they tied it up with us [in the last game] with .9 seconds left.”

Geneseo opened up a 3-0 lead in the first 26 minutes of the game.

Jimmy Powers led it off at 8:38 of the first with a shot from the left point that deflected off the shoulder of a defender and over the glove of Kevin Carr.

Blake O’Connor made it 2-0 at 14:54 with another shot from the left point. This time, O’Connor skated down the left side, pulled up at the point, and when he didn’t see anyone to pass to, let a shot fly. Despite cutting down the angle appropriately, it appeared to have surprised Carr, sneaking through the five-hole.

Carson Schell made it 3-0 at 5:56 of the second period with yet another shot from the left point. The shot was actually taken by Colin de Jersey into a sea of falling bodies. Schell was able to tip it past Carr.

“I thought it was going to be a long one after the first period,” Carriere said. “The first goal bounced off our chest. Another one a shot from the outside that had eyes. Another tip in the second period. The pucks were finding a way to get in.”

Buffalo State stopped the tide less than two minutes later. A shot from the point was redirected on the way in. It rattled around between the leg pads of Corey Gershon, coming out behind him. Drew Klin was there for the easy tap in.

Perhaps the turning point of the game came at 13:25 when Klin scored a shorthanded goal. He skated the puck into the zone on the left side, continued in deep, and beat Gershon, who had no help.

“That was a big goal for us,” Carriere said. “We wanted to keep the process going. We started competing more and more as the game went on. I thought we battled hard.”

The Bengals tied the game with 44 seconds left in the second period on the power play. They completely controlled the power-play, passing around the puck looking to set up the shot. It finally came from Zannella at the top of the left circle.

The third period went by without a goal, but the last minute nearly decided the game. Geneseo’s Stefan Decosse was leveled at center ice with 58 seconds left. As he lay motionless on the ice, Geneseo players went after Justin Knee.

Schell picked up a minor for slashing, while Knee was given a major and game misconduct for hit to the head. Decosse was finally helped off the ice, leaving the game.

The result was four-on-four hockey for the last minute of regulation and the first minute of overtime.

Then, Geneseo had three minutes to try to get the game winner.

However, despite a few solid opportunities, Buffalo State’s power play continued to be strong throughout the game.

The penalty was killed off, the last minute was played even strength, allowing Zannella to be the hero.

“On the PK, our guys did a good job,” Carriere said. “They had a couple of good shots in overtime. We got a bounce at the end and it went in for us. I’ll take that.”

Carr wound up with 34 saves for the win, while Gershon stopped 30.

Buffalo State (5-3-1, 9-7-2) stays home to play Brockport.

Geneseo (4-5-0, 10-8-0) goes further west to face Fredonia.

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