Potsdam used a quick start, spectacular goaltending in the second period, and a solid performance from its top line to defeat the Brockport Golden Eagles, 6-0. The Bears woke up from their hibernation, ending a seven-game losing streak.
The first nine minutes sealed Brockport’s fate, as Potsdam scored three times in the first 5:26 and outshot Brockport, 14-0.
“We came out of the gate, got into a good spot, and put the puck into the net,” Potsdam coach Glenn Thomaris said. “It was good to get the lead and keep it that way,” alluding to early leads against Elmira and Manhattanville that the Bears could not hold.
The first goal came very early — 23 seconds in, to be exact. Dave Weagle notched his first goal since October when his shot from the left point somehow had an eye for the net, eluding a screened Brian Tefft.
Just over a minute later, Scott Craig made it 2-0 when he picked up a loose puck at the right faceoff circle, spun, and flipped a shot over the right shoulder of Tefft, who appeared to start playing the puck down low.
“Everything they did in the first five minutes, we talked about in the locker room,” Brockport coach Brian Dickerson said. “We fell apart a little bit on the start.”
John Bernfell made it 3-0 with another shot from the point that found its way in. Nine minutes into the game, Brockport got its first shot on goal. From that point through the second period, Brockport outshot Potsdam, 23-8.
“I was pretty happy about how we reacted,” Dickerson said.
Thomaris agreed, “They came back and played hard, and we expected them to play hard. They outworked us, and we ended up taking penalties. Glad Ryan [Venturelli] made the saves.”
Indeed, if not for some spectacular saves by Venturelli, Brockport may very well have gotten back into the game. The best of the lot was a stacked pad save while lying down, when Venturelli lifted the upper leg to snare the puck. Another time, Venturelli stopped a clean breakaway. And of course, the goalie’s best friend — the post — helped out as well.
Potsdam got into the habit of applying the lumber, whistled for three consecutive slashing penalties. Each time, Venturelli bailed his team out.
Meanwhile, Potsdam took advantage of one of its few shots in the second to open a 4-0 lead. Skating four-on-four, Mark Stewart received a pass across the middle. He needed time to control it, before wristing it in down low.
Potsdam regained some of the momentum in the third, allowing just seven shots on net as the team worked to give Venturelli the shutout. He ended up with 30 saves in all.
The Bears only got four shots on goal, but made the most of them. Chris Lee scored at :54 when Potsdam kept the puck in the zone just as Brockport started breaking out. This enabled the Bears to turn it around on a two-on-one. Stewart worked the puck down low, used extreme patience waiting for Lee to get open, and fed him perfectly. Lee easily one-timed the puck into the empty portion of the net.
Anthony Greer wrapped up the scoring, scooping up a rebound and firing it past Tefft. Shortly afterwards, Tefft was replaced by Scott Santora.
The first line for Potsdam had a hand in four of the six goals with each player (Lee, Greer, and Stewart) getting a goal and two assists.
Neither team scored on the power play as Brockport missed out on six opportunities while Potsdam wasted four extra-man chances.
Potsdam now has a big game coming up at Geneseo Saturday night.
Thomaris said, “I look at the Brockport and Geneseo weekend, and it looks like a habit of stubbing our toe in one or the other.” A win will keep Potsdam within striking distance of the leaders, but Thomaris acknowledged it won’t be easy.
“I expect it to be a very physical, tight-checking game. We hope to score early to get them off their game.”
Meanwhile, Brockport hosts Plattsburgh on Senior Night.