MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State Men's Ice Hockey team returned to the win column on Friday night, outlasting the Bears from SUNY Potsdam 6-4 in a back and forth State Universities of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) tilt.
The Mustangs struck first, picking up a power play goal just under five minutes into the contest. Ian Wood (Pittsburgh, Pa.) won the face off in the right circle, flipping the puck back to John Lauer (Syracuse, N.Y.) who ripped a shot from the middle just over the SUNY Potsdam goaltenders left glove-side shoulder.
Up 1-0, Morrisville took advantage of another power play opportunity at the 10:33 mark. Lauer and Wood switched places this time around as Wood put back the rebound from Lauer's initial shot, giving the Mustangs a 2-0 advantage heading into the first intermission.
The second period did not start in Morrisville's favor as the Bears cut the Mustangs' lead in half just a minute and a half into play. Five minutes later, Potsdam knotted the score at 2-2 before taking a 3-2 advantage at the 7:48 mark in the period.
However, Nick DeVito (Averill Park, N.Y.) notched his 10th goal of the season, taking a shot from the right circle and depositing it in the upper left corner of the net to knot the game back up at 3-3. Aidan Conolly (Rochester, N.Y.) and Nick Hautanen (Timmins, Ont.) picked up assists on the play.
The roller coaster second period continued at the 16:30 mark, when the Bears' Anthony Merante posted an unassisted strike for the one-goal advantage. The 4-3 lead was short lived for the visitors thanks to Morrisville's Ryan Bochert (Denver, Colo.) who evened up the game at the 17:58 mark with a put back from Bradley Hefner's (Billings, Mont.) slap shot.
Knotted up at four goals apiece entering the third period, it did not take the Mustangs long to gain the slight edge. Rick Eberhart (Lockport, N.Y.) worked for positioning in the front of the Bears' net as Conolly and Hautanen worked the puck around the outside looking for an opening. Hautanen would find one, ripping a shot towards Eberhart, who got just enough of his stick on it to re-direct it into the back of the net for the one goal lead just two minutes into the third period.
Despite the one-goal advantage, the Mustangs found themselves on the defensive throughout the remainder of the third period as the Bears pelted the Mustangs' net with 13 shots, eight of which game during two power play attempts. Morrisville weathered the storm in the middle of the period, killing both penalties. The Mustangs were rewarded for those efforts by Eberhart who got free on a breakaway, picking up his second goal of the game at the 17:23 mark.
Up by two, Morrisville had one more storm to weather before they could claim the win. With 1:24 remaining in the contest, Potsdam pulled their goalie in favor of an extra skater. As the clock began to wind down, both teams were whistled for penalties with 34 seconds remaining. With a player in the box for each team, Potsdam still opted for the extra skater, but it was not enough as Morrisville tightened up their defense over the final half minute to walk away with the 6-4 win.
The Mustangs will have less than 24 hours to enjoy the win as both Morrisville and Potsdam return to the ice tomorrow night for the second game of their SUNYAC series. Puck drop is set for 7 PM in Morrisville.
Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.
The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit www.morrisville.edu.