POTSDAM, N.Y.—Needing a victory to stay in the playoff race, the SUNY Potsdam men's hockey team (9-12-2, 4-8-2 SUNYAC) got its best offensive performance of the season in a 7-4 win over Morrisville State (5-17-2, 2-13-1) on Saturday night. Senior captain Mike Arnold (Didsbury, Alberta/Kingston Voyageurs) scored two goals, including the game-winner, and junior forward Ken Simon (Norwell, Mass./Philadelphia Revolution) finished with a goal and an assist for the Bears. Sophomore goaltender Jon Hall (Dexter, N.Y./Stouffville Spirit) made 27 saves to improve to 3-0-2 in his last five starts.
It was the Mustangs getting on the board first with a power-play goal from freshman forward John Doyle (New Lowell, Ontario/Aurora, Ontario) at 12:46 of the opening period. Sophomore forward Billy Pascalli (Deer Park, N.Y./New York Bobcats) roofed a backhand shot over Morrisville senior goalie John Azzano (Oshawa, Ontario/Wentworth) to tie the score just 42 seconds later. Senior forward Adam Place (Scarborough, Ontario/Bowmanville Eagles) and freshman forward Tommy Telesca (Selden, N.Y./New York Bobcats) assisted on the goal. Two minutes after that, sophomore forward Matt Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska/Kenai River Brown Bears) gave Potsdam its first lead on helpers from freshman forward Vinny Caligiuri (Shoreham, N.Y./Hartford Wolfpack) and Simon. The Bears outshot the Mustangs 13-7 in the first period.
Morrisville junior forward Matthew Beer (Corunna, Ontario/Estevan Bruins) tied the game with another power-play marker, beating Hall glove-side with a backhand shot at 4:40 of the second period. At the 8:32, junior defenseman Max Fogel (Williamsville, N.Y./Buffalo Jr. Sabres) scored on a shot from the point to give Potsdam the lead for good on assists from Caligiuri and freshman defenseman Nick Casacci (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Connecticut Oilers). Less than a minute later, Arnold scored his first of the night to make it 4-2. Junior forward Zach Blake (Campbellford, Ontario/Plattsburgh State) and Place assisted on the goal. With 5:30 left in the period, Potsdam was called for a five-minute contact-to-the-head major. The Bears killed the penalty and took the two-goal advantage into the break.
Just 54 seconds into the third period, Arnold picked up a loose puck into the neutral zone and ripped a shot between Azzano stick and side. The goalie got a piece of the puck, but it trickled over the line for a 5-2 lead. At 5:14, sophomore forward Zach Baker (Denver, Colo./Bozeman Ice Dogs) blasted a shot between Hall's pads to get Morrisville back within 5-3. However, the Mustangs weren't able to build momentum. Midway through the period, Morrisville was whistled for back-to-back penalties. Simon made the Mustangs pay with a power-play goal with 3:01 remaining. Junior forward Trevor Cope (Swartz Creek, Mich./Atlanta Jr. Knights) set up the tally with a perfect pass across the slot. With a three-goal lead and time winding down the Bears were called for simultaneous minors, giving Morrisville a five-on-three power play for the last 1:28. With nothing to lose, the Mustangs pulled Azzano for an extra attacker. With 30 seconds left, junior defenseman Erick Ware (Huntsville, Ala./Kenai River Brown Bears) launched a shot from Potsdam's defensive end and hit the empty-net on the far side of the rink for a 7-3 lead. Just 10 seconds later, sophomore forward Zach Bayer (Glendale, Ariz./Lindsay Muskies) answered on the power play to close the scoring at 7-4.
Azzano finished with 32 saves. Potsdam outshot Morrisville 39-31 on the night. The Mustangs were 3-8 on the power play and the Bears went 2-5.
With Brockport's 3-2 win at Oswego, Potsdam trails the Golden Eagles by one point for the final playoff spot in the SUNYAC.
The Bears close out the regular season with the playoffs on the line in contests against Oswego and Cortland next weekend. The Lakers invade Maxcy Ice Arena at 7 p.m. on Friday and the Red Dragons at the same time on Saturday.