The task was simple for Buffalo State: win, and except for one bizarre set of circumstances, they would be in the SUNYAC playoffs. Thus, Buffalo State did exactly that, scoring immediately en route to a 4-1 victory over Brockport and get to play another day.
“We wanted to take care of business,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “I think we were ready to go tonight.”
“We’re disappointed with the way we played all weekend long,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “We didn’t play with much emotion all weekend long. Tonight, I thought we were a little better in the first period. We need to find a way in the next 72 hours to pick it up if we expect to advance in the playoffs.”
Buffalo State bookended the first period with a goal 20 seconds in and another with 30 seconds left. In between, they held off four Brockport power plays, including some five-on-three action. They also escaped an apparent Brockport score that was waved off because the net was knocked off just before the shot was taken. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Brockport, because they had Alan Fritch out of position and an open net to shoot at. The Golden Eagles also hit two posts in the opening period.
Nick Petriello scored an early goal on a quick counterattack. Petriello, from in-close on the right side, one-timed a centering pass past Oliver Wren.
“Just to get things going was huge for us,” Carriere said.
Jason Hill converted the late goal. He maintained control of the puck on the right side from close range before finally shooting through a small space into the upper near corner.
“That line of Petriello, Hill, and Sheppard, they really do some neat things with the puck,” Carriere said. “They make a lot of good things happen.”
In between those goals, Brockport had their goal called back.
“That’s frustrating,” Dickinson said. “We knew it was going to be called back, The net was clearly off.”
The second period went by without a goal, but not without a lack of trying. Both teams had excellent scoring chances and either shot wide, missed passes, or were stoned by two hot goaltenders.
Early in the third, Buffalo State had a chance to put the game away. With Wren out of position and the net open, the subsequent Bengals’ shot was saved by a diving Lucas Schott in front of the goal.
The Bengals did get that third goal to put the game away on their fourth power play opportunity at 11:37. Joel Sheppard knocked in a rebound at the goalmouth after Buffalo State applied consistent pressure.
Immediately afterwards, the game started to deteriorate. A scuffle after the goal resulted in two players from each team receiving a minor and a 10-minute misconduct. A minute later, that was followed by another scuffle, and another pair of offsetting minors and 10-minute misconducts. A few minutes later, Ryan Ramage received a major for high sticking as well as a holding minor.
With all those penalties, Brockport finally got on the scoreboard with a power play and their goaltender pulled. After Fritch stopped the initial shot, Ryan Silveira banged home the rebound.
However, Buffalo State came right back with 16 seconds left to score a long range short-handed empty-netter by Hill for his second of the night.
Fritch wound up with 31 saves.
“He’s a big square goaltender,” Carriere said. “When he does that he’s tough to beat. You see a lot of guys trying to pick the corners on him, and they hit the shoulder or miss the net.”
Buffalo State (10-11-4, 5-7-4) is the No. 6 seed in the SUNYAC playoffs and travels to Geneseo for the play-in round on Tuesday.
“We didn’t really do a good job,” Carriere said of their game against Geneseo yesterday. “Our guys in that room, they understand. They’re looking forward to going into Geneseo.”
Brockport (13-9-3, 7-7-2), despite losing both games this weekend, still gets to host a playoff game for the first time ever on Tuesday against Potsdam as the No. 4 seed.
“We need to get pucks into their corner, control the offensive zone, get pucks to O’Neill, and hopefully have the same success we had against them up north,” Dickinson said.