MASSENA -- After seeing a two-goal lead vanish late in the third period, sophomore forward Ken Simon (Norwell, Mass./Philadelphia Revolution) needed just 40 extra seconds to lift the SUNY Potsdam men’s hockey team (8-14-1, 5-9 SUNYAC) to its second straight 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday night.
No. 14 SUNY Geneseo (15-8-1, 10-4-1) limps home from the North Country with two straight losses.
Simon finished with a goal and an assist and sophomore forward Trevor Cope (Swartz Creek, Mich/Atlanta Jr. Knights) contributed two helpers.
The Bears controlled the play right out of the gate, but it was Geneseo drawing first blood. At the 3:17 mark, freshman defenseman Alex Lubczuk (Kitchener, Ontario/Georgetown Raiders) shoveled his own rebound past Potsdam junior goalie Shane Talarico (Greensburg, Pa./Elmira College) on the power play for a 1-0 Ice Knights lead.
Senior forward Kaz Iwomoto (Tomakomai, Japan/Wyoming Seminary) and junior forward Garry Childerhose (Altona, Manitoba/Melfort Mustangs) each recorded assists.
The Bears continue to pepper Geneseo senior goalie Adrian Rubeniuk (Grandview, Manitoba/Dauphin Kings) for the rest of the period, but Rubeniuk was tough to beat.
At the 3:00 mark, Rubeniuk robbed sophomore forward Zach Blake (Campbellford, Ontario/Plattsburgh State) with a glove save. Potsdam finally evened the score at 18:12.
Freshman forward Billy Pascalli (Deer Park, N.Y./New York Bobcats) hit senior captain Matt Viola (Toronto, Ontario/Vaughan Vipers) with a cross ice pass that he picked up at the Ice Knights blue line.
Viola beat a Geneseo defender, faked right and beat Rubeniuk left. Simon earned the second assist.
The score remained 1-1 at the break. Potsdam outshot the Ice Knights 18-5 in the first 20 minutes.
The Bears continued to control the play in the second period and Rubeniuk continued to keep his team in the game.
The Geneseo goaltender turned aside shot after shot, totaling 13 saves in the middle stanza, but did surrender the go-ahead goal on three-on-one Potsdam break.
At the 12:21, the Bears picked up the puck in the neutral zone and moved across the blue line. Sophomore forward Trevor Cope (Swartz Creek, Mich/Atlanta Jr. Knights) fed the puck in front of the net and sophomore defenseman Erick Ware (Huntsville, Alabama/Kenai River Brown Bears) tapped it into the open goal for a 2-1 Potsdam lead.
The Bears finished with a 14-8 shot advantage in the period, but couldn’t add to the lead. Talarico was tested early in the third period. Less than minute into the final 20, Ice Knights junior forward Zachary Vit (Villanova, Pa./Green Mountain Glades) broke free in front of the net and was stuffed by the Potsdam goaltender, resulting in a huge cheer from his team’s bench.
Moments later Talarico stopped rapid fire shots from Iwamoto and freshman forward Devon Rice (Ottawa, Ontario/Ottawa Jr. Senators) giving his team another big boost.
At 4:26, junior assistant captain Mike Arnold (Didsbury, Alberta/) ripped a pass from Cope past Rubeniuk to give Potsdam a 3-1 lead. The Bears were remained in control until Geneseo went on the power play with under three minutes remaining.
Rubeniuk was pulled for an extra attacker and seconds later senior forward Ryan Bulach (Kelowna, British Columbia/Trail Smoke Eaters) finished a pass from Vit to cut the gap to 3-2.
Just 37 later, Bulach tied the game with an even-strength tally on an assist from Iwamoto. Time expired with the game knotted at three all and the Bears deflated.
Overtime began with Potsdam scrambling to clear the zone after another Talarico save. Junior defenseman Kevin Carpenter (Denver, Colo./Notre Dame Hounds) flipped the puck up over the Geneseo defense and Simon picked it up in stride in the neutral zone.
He raced the length of the ice and wristed the puck past Rubeniuk’s blocker for the game-winner just 40 seconds into the extra session. Talarico picked up his first career win as a starter with 24 saves. Rubeniuk was fantastic, finishing with 40 stops.
The Ice Knights were 2-4 on the power play and the Bears were 0-1. Potsdam outshot Geneseo 44-27 on the evening.
The win revives the Bears’ playoff hopes, moving them past Morrisville, Cortland and Brockport into the sixth and final playoff spot with two games to play. Potsdam is now 36-35-8 all-time against Geneseo and 5-3 at Massena Arena this season.
The Bears close out the regular season in Massena next weekend.
On Friday, Potsdam hosts No. 2 Oswego and unranked Cortland the following evening. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.