GENESEO, N.Y. — For the second year in a row, Potsdam, in enemy territory, upset Geneseo.
This time it was a 2-1 score with Kenny Simon notching the game-winner 40 seconds into the third period.
“It was a tremendous college hockey game,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “Two teams were spilling their guts, and we were fortunate to be on the good side of it.”
After the teams traded goals in the first two periods, Potsdam quickly jumped in front as the final period began. The rebound on Billy Pascalli’s backhand came out to the side where nobody, including the goalie, was covering. Simon swooped in to easily deposit it in to the open net.
After Geneseo started the game with the better play, Potsdam took the initial lead at 8:46. Matt Thompson pounced on a rebound left by Nick Horrigan after Logan Brown’s initial shot. Thompson flipped the puck over the shoulder of Horrigan. The puck appeared to be heading in, but it grazed the post and fell on the line. However, Thompson followed his shot, skating behind the goalie to help guide it the rest of the way. The goal invigorated Potsdam, as they started going toe-to-toe with Geneseo.
At one point, Potsdam was outshooting Geneseo, 13-3.
Twice, Potsdam got called for embellishment. The first time gave Geneseo a power play. The second negated a Potsdam advantage.
The Ice Knights tied the game in the second period also at the 8:05 mark when Ryan Connelly’s blast from the left circle beat Jon Hall cleanly.
The week before, Hall made 53 saves in a win against Hobart. This time, he “only” needed to make 29 saves. What did Potsdam do to keep the shots down?
“We took less penalties,” Bernard explained. “When you’re playing a man down, you’re going to have to shrink around your net and be tough on loose pucks and clear them out of the way once they hit your goalie.”
Geneseo had five man-advantages. The week before, Plattsburgh had eight power plays, while Hobart had nine. So far, Potsdam has only let one power-play goal in which came against Hobart.
After the Bears took the lead, they appeared to get the insurance goal on more than one occasion. Once, a puck appeared in, but Horrigan snatched it before it crossed the line. Another time, the puck did go in, but the whistle had just blown to call a penalty against Potsdam.
Earlier in the game, the Bears hit the post twice.
“They just kept talking about the next one,” Bernard said of the missed opportunities. “And they just kept talking about how we have to stay focused.”
Focused they stayed, as a late penalty and pulling Horrigan gave Geneseo a two-man advantage for 30 seconds and then a normal extra skater for a minute. Hall was forced to make two tough saves, while Potsdam just missed the open net twice by inches.
Potsdam kept the talented Ice Knights at bay with a simple but effective game plan coupled with tight defense.
Bernard said, “The strategy is let’s play as tough as we can, let’s try to move north as quick as we can, let’s try to get pucks to the net, let’s battle ’til the end. From there, the product is what you see from those simple values.”
It doesn’t get easier for Geneseo (2-1-0, 2-1-0) who now has to host Plattsburgh, who defeated Brockport, 1-0.
Potsdam (2-1-0, 1-1-0) now has two consecutive victories over ranked opponents. Hobart was No. 15 at the time and Geneseo is No. 4 this week. The Bears travel to Brockport Saturday night.