In the battle for third place in the SUNYAC, Plattsburgh came away with a 6-2 victory over Morrisville. The Cardinals opened up a 3-1 first period lead and then held on against a determined opponent, needing an empty-net goal and a final, second fluke to finally put it away.
The win moves Plattsburgh into third place, one point ahead of both Morrisville and Buffalo State.
“I thought we came out with a pretty good first period,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “Morrisville played really hard five-on-five. Special teams, we gelled. I thought our penalty kill played real well.”
“It was a back-and-forth game,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “For four or five minutes of the game, they took it to us pretty good after we scored the first goal. Second period, I thought we showed great fight, great passion to get back into it. We had opportunities in the third, but just didn’t capitalize. To give them credit, they made the stops when they needed to.”
Morrisville did manage to score first at 2:24 on a quick three-on-two rush. Nick Kulas finished the play from the right side, flipping the puck over the near shoulder of Josh Leis.
Afterwards, it was all Plattsburgh in the first period, outshooting the Mustangs 14-3.
The Cardinals tied the game 48 seconds later on a long slap shot by Dylan Clarke.
Plattsburgh took the lead on a power play at 8:01. After Caylin Relkoff made a great leg save, neither he nor his defensemen could control the rebound. Kyle Kudroch did, backhanding it in.
A little more than a minute later, Plattsburgh made it 3-1, thanks to a turnover and an unmarked Eric Satim, who put it in from the top of the crease.
Once again, Morrisville scored early in a period, this time 28 seconds after the middle stanza began. Bobby Cass, from a difficult angle off to the right, put it up high to beat Leis to cut the lead to one.
“Very relaxed play by one of our defenseman,” Emery said. “Turns the puck over on the offensive blue line and the next thing you know, it’s in the back of the net. Every time you give up a goal in the beginning of the period like that, it’s going to give the other team momentum.”
Despite once again being outshot in a period, 14-7 this time, Morrisville had some excellent scoring opportunities, but could not get the equalizer.
After killing off a double minor, Plattsburgh got their insurance goal at 6:35 of the final period. Relkoff had trouble handling a shot, and the puck bounced up in the air. Dan Sliasis followed up his shot by whacking the airborne puck into the net for the 4-2 lead.
Plattsburgh committed two penalties in the waning minutes, so Morrisville pulled its goalie to enhance the manpower advantage.
“I thought we played smart with the lead outside of the penalties,” Emery said. “Very uncharacteristic of us. Guys aren’t going to play if they take bad penalties.”
However, pulling the goaltender didn’t work, as Satim scored a rink-length off-the-boards empty-netter. Then, just before the final buzzer, Kyle VanDermale managed to sneak one in.
“We have to play from in front, and not playing catch up,” Grady said.
Leis made 16 saves the win.
“I thought he played well,” Emery said. “The second goal boomeranged off our guy’s stick and went over his shoulder. If we can keep the opponent to two goals, we should win a lot of games.”
Morrisville (9-10-1, 6-5-1), who lost two games in a row for the first time this season, goes on the road next weekend, traveling to Cortland and Oswego.
Plattsburgh (15-6-1, 7-6-0) stays on the road to play at Buffalo State and Fredonia.