POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's hockey team (2-0, 1-0 SUNYAC) got a big games from multiple players to roll past Morrisville State (0-2, 0-1) 9-5 in its SUNYAC opener on Saturday night at Massena Arena. Sophomore forward Trevor Cope recorded six assists, senior captain Matt Viola had a five-point night (2-3-5), junior assistant captain Mike Arnold had a hat trick and junior forward Adam Place chipped in two goals for Potsdam.
The scoring started just 32 seconds into the game as Viola found Place to put Potsdam up 1-0. Just over a minute later, senior forward Rafal Plonski greeted Bears freshman goalie Jon Hall rudely, tying the game at 1-1. Forty-one seconds later, junior forward Mike Dolman buried his own rebound to give the Mustangs a 2-1 advantage. Hall was injured on the play and junior transfer Shane Talarico took over. Morrisville sophomore forward Matthew Beer immediately tested Talarico, who shut him down on a breakaway. The save settled the Bears and they responded offensively. At 10:33, Cope and freshman forward Billy Pascalli set up Arnold for the equalizer on the power play. Two minutes later, junior assistant captain Nick Avgerinos fed Viola at the right side of the net for another man-advantage score and a 3-2 Potsdam lead. At 14:17, Plonski netted his second of the night to tie the score again with helpers from junior forward Kevin Gaughran and junior defenseman James Jarvis. Just 58 seconds later, sophomore defenseman Dan McCamey dumped a long shot on goal and the puck skipped past Mustang freshman goalie Jakob Rasmussen for a 4-3 lead.
Offense was the story in the second period as well. Midway through the middle stanza, Cope found Arnold for his second of the game. Two minutes later, sophomore forward Ryan Miller and Cope sent the puck into the right corner of the Morrisville zone to freshman forward Jake Rivera. Rivera fired the puck off the back of Rasmussen and into the goal for a 6-3 Bears lead. After the goal junior goalie Christopher Azzano replaced Rasmussen. At 14:55, the Mustangs answered as Beer picked the puck off the stick of Potsdam defenseman, went the distance and roofed it over Talarico.
Morrisville closed the gap to 6-5 as Dolman scored his second on assists from Gaughran and junior forward Jamie Nelson 1:33 into the final period. The Mustangs had several chances to tie the contest after the goal, but didn't get any closer. Potsdam finally put the game away with three straight power-play goals over the final five minutes of the contest. Viola tallied his second of the night at 15:45 with assists from Cope and senior captain Brett Waters. Forty-four seconds later, Arnold completed his hat trick with assists from Cope and Viola. Place capped the scoring a minute later as Cope and Viola recorded the assists.
In goal, Talarico stopped 33 shots for his first collegiate victory. Rasmussen was tagged for the loss, allowing six goals and making 19 saves in the first 32:03. Azzano allowed two goals and stopped 11 shots in the next 24:36 and sophomore Zak McMichael made three saves and allowed a goal in the final 3:31.
Potsdam outshot Morrisville 42-39. The Bears were 5-13 on the power play and the Mustangs went 1-4. The victory was the eighth for Potsdam in the teams' 12 meetings and gives Potsdam a 2-0 start for the first time in 10 seasons.
The Bears are back in action at Massena Arena next Saturday, Nov. 3 when they host the Plattsburgh State Cardinals.