Craig Levey scored a goal in each of the first two periods, and freshman Brian Keane got a goal and an assist in the third period to help Hobart break a 2-2 tie on the road en route to a 5-2 victory over a pesky Brockport team in a nonconference matchup at the Tuttle North Ice Arena.
Hobart started backup goalie Thomas Kelliher, but he did not receive much pressure in the first period from the Golden Eagles. From the get-go, when Hobart had a two-on-one breakout seconds into the game, the period was controlled by the Statesmen.
Brockport’s Brian Tefft was forced to come up with tough save after tough save.
“Tefft has emerged as our number-one goalie,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “He needs to have big saves for us like he did in the first.”
It nearly worked for the period as Brockport got on the scoreboard first despite getting only six shots in the first 20 minutes. Brian Bauman took a flip shot from the left that appeared to handcuff Kelliher. The waist-high shot squeezed under the goaltender’s arm on the near side.
The lead almost lasted the period, but Hobart finally had all that pressure pay off to tie the game with 12.2 seconds left.
The initial shot from the left point was saved, but Brockport was unable to clear it out. Greg Gallagher kept it in, and once again let off a shot from the left point. The rebound found its way to Levey in front of the net. Levey was patient, waiting for the goalie to make his move first, before flipping it over him into the far upper corner.
Hobart had 17 shots in the first period, but could only muster the one late goal thanks to Tefft.
Hobart didn’t waste any time taking the lead, scoring 41 seconds into the second period. Levey got his second of the night when he received a pass down low from [nl]Colby McVey for a mini-breakaway. Levey slid it through the five-hole of Tefft.
Despite those two goals in 53 seconds of play spread over two periods, Brockport didn’t fold the tents. In fact, a few minutes later, it started taking the play to Hobart. This enabled the Golden Eagles to tie it up just shy of the midway point of the game.
John Munshaw controlled the puck behind the net. He fed Kevin Collins standing in front unmarked, and Collins one-timed it into the corner of the goal.
Brockport continued the pressure, striking the post about a minute later. Brockport again nearly took the lead when Kelliher stopped the puck right on the line.
As the third period started, Hobart surprised everyone by putting starter Adam Lavelle in the game despite Kelliher making 15 saves, and looking fairly strong.
So why make the move?
“To challenge the team a little bit,” coach Mark Taylor explained. “I didn’t like the way we were playing in front of Kelliher, so I wanted to give the team a little jump-start.”
It worked, as Hobart took the lead at 5:30 with a tick left in a power play. Hobart applied constant pressure, and worked the puck to the front of the net, where Keane poked it in.
A couple of minutes later, Hobart scored another power-play goal when Carl Michaelson took a lazy slapshot from the right point that snuck through the five-hole of a partially-screened Tefft.
“He knows it’s coming, even though he couldn’t see it,” Brian Dickinson explained what happened to Tefft. “He went on reflexes and went low. Typically, when a goalie does that, he lifts his stick off the ice, and the puck slid under it.”
That essentially took the wind out of Brockport’s sails as it only registered five shots on goal in the final period. Hobart added an unassisted empty-net goal with 38 seconds left to play when McVey picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and shot it softly into the unguarded net.
Dickinson wasn’t happy with his team’s performance.
“In the third period, we weren’t ready to play,” he said. “We didn’t put the effort in. Hobart is one of the hardest-working teams we played this year. We didn’t match their effort.”
Tefft wound up with 29 saves as Brockport is now 6-9-1. Brockport stays home and plays Utica Saturday night at 7:00.
Hobart improves its record to 9-6-1 and travels to Fredonia for a Saturday night game.
These teams face each other again on January 25 in Hobart. Does Hobart plan on doing anything differently next time to try and repeat the win?
Mark Taylor was coy: “We don’t think that far ahead.”