FREDONIA, N.Y. — It was the Will McLaughlin show at the Steele Hall Ice Arena, as Fredonia defeated Potsdam, 2-0, in a key SUNYAC contest.
“Obviously, that’s a real big game for us to be able play the kind of game we did; hats off to our hockey team,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “Quite honestly, I asked them what they wanted to do before the game, and they wanted to go. So they went and they worked, they finished checks, came back for backchecks. It was a real veteran effort tonight.”
“Tremendously disappointing to lose a game like that,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “I thought we carried play for long stretches of the game, but just couldn’t find a goal.”
McLaughlin scored both goals, just his 10th and 11th of his collegiate career. He came close a number of times to getting a hat trick, including an empty net attempt which went wide.
“Willy was outstanding,” Meredith said. “Not only does he have unbelievable speed, but he never stops his feet from moving. He was an impact player on the ice, whether it was killing penalties, five-on-five, getting extra ice time in the last seven, eight minutes.”
His surprise offensive output overshadowed Mark Friesen’s excellent effort in net, making 25 saves for the shutout, second this year, fifth of his career.
“Friesen played well,” Meredith said. “There were times he had to battle and fight through screens. I thought he was key on that five-minute kill. He slammed the door there.”
“Credit to them, they took care of the net, didn’t allow us any dirty goals,” Bernard said.
After a scoreless first period, McLaughlin scored twice early in the middle stanza, at the 21-second mark and at 6:38.
McLaughlin burst by the defenders to go in alone on Jon Hall. After his deke and shot, his speed sent him flying into the net just after the puck entered it.
“For us this year to get the first goal of the game is really big,” Meredith said.
On the second tally, McLaughlin came down the right side. From a difficult angle, Hall played the pass, but McLaughlin took a soft shot. Off balance, Hall could not get his right leg out as the puck slid by, just sneaking inside the opposite post.
“It’s just unfortunate sometimes that happens; you can outguess yourself,” Bernard said. “I thought he played solid. He made some key saves at key times, especially the breakaway in the third period to give us a chance. But, we don’t score, it’s tough to win.”
Hall wound up with 19 saves.
Potsdam’s best chance in that period came when they had a major power play, with their best opportunity when Adam Place smacked the post.
“We rang the post there on the five-minute major,” Bernard said. “A few other guys had some grade A chances. It was one of these snake-bitten nights; nothing was going in for us. It wasn’t for lack of effort.”
Potsdam came out strong in the third period. However, Fredonia’s classic tough defensive style, coupled with Friesen in net, thwarted every Bears’ attack.
“I thought we did a great job closing it out, playing simple, and getting pucks in deep,” Meredith said.