BUFFALO, N.Y. — Entering tonight’s action, six teams in the SUNYAC were separated by four points, with only three of those teams able to make the playoffs.
Thus, points are a precious commodity.
Buffalo State came away with two of those precious points against Potsdam with a 3-2 victory as the win enabled Buffalo State to maintain pace with Fredonia, as the two are still tied for fourth place.
“We battled through adversity,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “We controlled the play at various points throughout the game. We caught some penalty trouble, especially in the second period with the five-minute major. In the end, we got a big two points.”
For Potsdam, they are quickly running out of time, as they now find themselves in last place, three points out of a playoff spot, having lost four straight conference games.
“We’re working hard,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “It would just be nice to catch a break and get over the hump. Except for a couple of games, our whole semester has been one-goal losses.”
Taylor McGraw scored the game-winner early in the third period and Kevin Carr made 23 saves. For McGraw, this was his first game back since being injured in the season opener against Penn State on October 19.
“He just came back,” Carriere said. “It’s his first game back and he scored the game-winner. He’s not usually a goal scorer.”
The teams traded first-period goals. Buffalo State got on the board first at 9:19 when Mike Zannella fired it in from the high slot, beating Austin Keiser.
Six minutes later, Ken Simon tied it up for the Bears when he used a defender as a screen, firing it in off the post from the right side.
The teams again traded goals in the second period, this time with Potsdam scoring first at 2:30. Dan McCamey’s shot from the left point was stopped by Carr, but Mike Arnold was there to knock the rebound in.
Ten minutes later, the Bengals got their own rebound goal. Trevor McKinney needed two attempts to poke in the loose puck to tie the game, 2-2.
With less than five minutes to go in the second period, Buffalo State’s Brett Hope received a major penalty and game misconduct for contact to the head. This was the second game in a row Potsdam had a full five-minute power play and also the second game in a row Potsdam failed to score with it.
“Two nights in a row,” Bernard said. “We came into the weekend at 22 percent (on the power play) and we were 0-for-8 with two majors.”
Buffalo State took their second and final lead of the game at 4:24 of the final period. Again, it was a rebound goal as McGraw whacked it home from the crease.
“It came down to the dirty areas,” Bernard said. “They found a way to keep it out. We worked hard to get one. They worked hard to get two.
“It was critical that we got points this weekend and we didn’t.”
McGraw also scored the game-winner in last year’s playoff contest against Potsdam.