Bears men's hockey battle back to claim tie with Fredonia, 4-4
Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 9:20 am

POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's hockey team (7-12-2, 2-8-2 SUNYAC) saw a two-goal lead evaporate in the third period, but battled back to forge a 4-4 tie with Fredonia State (7-10-5, 4-5-4) on Saturday night. Sophomore forward Billy Pascalli (Deer Park, N.Y./New York Bobcats) had a goal and three assists to lead the Bears and senior forward Adam Place (Scarborough, Ontario/Bowmanville Eagles) finished with a three-point night (1g, 2a). All of Potsdam's goals came on the power play.

The Blue Devils outshot Potsdam early in the contest, assisted by a Bears' too-many-men penalty just 3:20 into the contest. Potsdam killed the power play and with strong goaltending from sophomore goalie Jon Hall (Dexter, N.Y./Stouffville Spirit) shifted the momentum in the other direction. The Bears made the most of their first power play of the contest. At 11:10, Pascalli sent a pass in front of the net and junior defenseman Dan McCamey (Dayton, Ohio/Minnesota Flying Aces) roofed a shot over Fredonia freshman goalie Jeff Flagler (Owen Sound, Ontario/Walkerton Juniors) for a 1-0 lead. The rest of the period was evenly matched and Potsdam took the lead and a 15-13 advantage in shots into the first break.

Each team had three power plays in the second period that both halted and ignited momentum. There were 35 total shots in the middle 20 minutes and the goaltenders combined to stop 34. It was junior forward Ken Simon (Norwell, Mass./Philadelphia Revolution) that got the period's lone goal on the power play. Simon fired a shot from the slot that Flagler got a piece of, but couldn't hang on too. Pascalli and Place assisted on the goal. Hall made 16 saves to keep the score 2-0 in favor of Potsdam after two periods.

The offense was the story in the third period. The Blue Devils exploded for three goals in the first 5:38 to grab a 3-2 advantage. Freshman forward Travis Fernley (Calgary, Alberta/Truro Bearcats) beat Hall with a shot from the right faceoff circle 2:06 into the period. Sophomore defenseman Mitch Kaufmann (Red Deer, Alberta/Canmore) tied the score with a goal from a crowd in front at 5:21. Just 17 seconds later, senior forward Matt Owczarczak (Buffalo, N.Y./Buffalo Jr. Sabres) finished a perfect passing play, firing the puck past a diving Hall to give Fredonia its first lead of the contest. Nearly seven minutes later, sophomore forward Chad Bennett (Burlington, Ontario/Aurora Tigers) made it 4-2 Blue Devils. Rather than be blown out of their own building, the Bears answered with another power play goal three minutes later. Place blasted a shot through traffic to cut the gap to 4-3 on helpers from Simon and Pascalli. The momentum continued to build for the Bears as they went on their sixth power play with 1:56 remaining. With a minute on the clock Hall was pulled for an extra attacker. Just three seconds later, Pascalli tipped a blast from the point off the stick of junior defenseman Erick Ware (Huntsville, Ala./Kenai River Brown Bears) past Flagler to tie the game at 4-4. Place earned the second assist on the play.

In overtime, each team had a power play off of a goaltender interference call, but neither could get the decisive tally. Fredonia outshot the Bears 5-4 in the extra five minutes.

Hall finished with 46 saves and Flagler stopped 47. The Bears outshot the Blue Devils 51-50 on the night. Potsdam went 4-7 on the power play, while giving up nothing on seven penalty kills.

The Bears are just two points out of the sixth and final playoff spot with four SUNYAC games to play. Potsdam is hosts Morrisville for two games next Friday and Saturday.