Defense was optional at Brockport’s Tuttle North Ice Arena in the third period.
Brockport and Morrisville combined for seven goals in the final period in a wild shootout that saw multiple lead changes. When the ice chips finally settled, Brockport prevailed, 7-6. There were 72 total shots in the game.
Ian Finnerty got two goals and two assists for the winners. Jonathan Cristini and Todd Hosmer each scored twice for the Mustangs.
“Crazy,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “Obviously gaining two points was very crucial for us as it would have been for them. I thought we came out with a lot of energy against a team that put it to us pretty good last year. We just kept battling and battling and battling. It was a great effort by all of our guys.”
“I thought it was an intense game,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “Obviously, two points at this juncture were huge for both teams. It wasn’t going to be easy. They came to play in the first period.”
Brockport got on the board first by scoring twice within a 28 second span starting at 6:59. First it was Finnerty putting a rebound in from the top of the crease. Then, Bobby Conner picked up a loose puck which Morrisville lost, and flipped it by Colin Breen.
Curtis Renaud stemmed the tie, putting Morrisville on the board at 10:43. Geoff Matzel skated the puck out of the corner and flipped it towards the net. It deflected off Renaud to beat Oliver Wren.
Five minutes later, Brockport had a two-goal lead again. A rebound came out to the top of the left circle where Mike Hayward blasted a shot into the opposite side.
Morrisville regrouped in the second period, scoring twice to tie the game. The first came on a two-man advantage at 7:47. Morrisville maintained good puck possession, finally getting it to Todd Hosmer on the right point. Hosmer fired a rocket of a shot that blew by Wren.
With just under four minutes to go in the period, Cristini lunged at a puck during a scramble in front of the net to poke it in.
“Second period we controlled play,” Grady said.
With the game tied at 3-3 entering the third period, the teams did anything but turn this into a conservative, defensive-oriented final 20 minutes.
Morrisville quickly took their first lead of the game at the 20 second mark when Tom Longland’s shot from the center of the blueline eluded Wren.
Brockport, however, did not allow that to get them down.
“We were definitely concerned because they battled back from two goals down,” Dickinson said. “Finnerty and Cody never wavered. They were very emotional on the bench. They kept everyone going. Finnerty was ready to play tonight. He had a monster game. It was key for us to tie the game as quickly as we did. Once we tied it up, I felt good things were happening.”
About two minutes later James Cody got the game into a deadlock again. He perfectly deflected a centering pass from Finnerty leaving Breen with no chance.
“I was proud of the way that we bounced back after they scored 20 seconds into the third,” Dickinson said. “We’ve had some of those this year already and we fell apart when that happened.”
“Credit them, they responded well,” Grady said. “They came with some jump. I thought we relaxed a little bit and they took advantage.”
Exactly two minutes later, Morrisville had their second lead of the night. Cristini skated the puck from the left circle across the center before shooting near side to beat Wren.
Brockport reversed the momentum, gaining their second lead of the game with two goals in a 27 second span. Marcus Farmer passed it from the left point to the right slot. There, Finnerty one-timed a blast into the opposite upper corner on the power play. During a delayed penalty call, Adam Shoff took a wrister from the high slot to beat Breen.
At the 12:16 mark, Hosmer tied it up yet again. Morrisville moved the puck around well forcing Brockport to start running around, leaving Hosmer off to the right to fire it in near side.
The scoring finally ended at 14:21 with Colby Spooner got the game winner. Mike Hollander’s shot from the right side was stopped. The rebound went to the opposite side with Breen off balance. Spooner hustled to the loose puck, and with Breen diving across, Spooner roofed it over the sprawled goaltender.
“Third period was a penalty match,” Grady said. “Run and gun, wide open. Who’s going to get the last shot to end the game. It’s tough to come from behind, especially on the road. Maybe too little, too late.”
The game was the fourth annual Saves For A Cure charity event organized by former Brockport goalie Todd Sheridan. Twelve-year-old Phillip Massey, dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening face off.
“I think I am most excited for him,” Sheridan said. “I hope this is something that inspires him and shows him that other people out there are fighting next to him so that when he goes back to the hospital for treatments, he can be determined to finish his cancer off for good.”
Brockport (2-5-1, 3-6-2) has one game left this calendar year, hosting Elmira on Friday.
Morrisville (1-6-1, 2-7-1) plays a pair of games at Neumann next weekend before the break.