POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's hockey team (5-7) got clutch scoring to complete a two-game sweep of Saint Anselm (3-5-2) with a 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon. Senior goaltender Shane Talarico (Greensburg, Pa./Elmira College) made 28 saves in another stellar performance to improve to 4-0 on the season. Senior captain Mike Arnold (Didsbury, Alberta/Kingston Voyageurs) and sophomore forward Matt Thompson (Anchorage Alaska/Kenai River Brown Bears) each scored for the Bears, who are now 5-1 in their last six games.
Needing a strong start against the dangerous Hawks, Potsdam got one. Just 1:32 into the contest freshman forward Tommy Telesca (Selden, N.Y./New York Bobcats) centered a pass from behind the net and sophomore forward Todd Thomas (Davidsville, Pa./Hartford Wolfpack) fired it on a screened St. A's senior goalie Nick Dries (Commerce Township, Mich./Baystate Breakers) and Arnold tapped it home for a 1-0 lead. The Bears moved the puck well for several minutes after the goal, but didn't add to the lead. The Hawks slowly evened the play, but Talarico was on top of his game between the pipes. Potsdam also killed off two power plays and held the one goal advantage after 20 minutes.
The first half of the middle stanza was a defensive stalemate, but a series of penalties opened up the game over the final 10 minutes. On an odd-man rush, sophomore forward Matt Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska/Kenai River Brown Bears) beat Dries through the five-hole after a perfect pass from sophomore defenseman Brad Campagna (Monroe, N.Y./New York Bobcats) for a 2-0 lead. The rest of the period was penalty after penalty, but the score didn't change. Potsdam killed off four more Hawk man-advantages and Talarico added eight more saves to his total after 40 minutes.
The teams continued to grind it out in a physical third period. The Bears' defensive play and their goaltender frustrated Saint Anselm as the clock ticked down. The Hawks finally got on the board with 3:45 to go as junior forward Sean Jenkins (Boston, Mass./Boston Bulldogs) ripped a shot through a crowd in the slot to cut the lead in half. Sophomore forward Mark Meads (Middleton, Mass./Bentley University) assisted on the goal. Two minutes later, Saint Anselm Coach Ed Seney pulled Dries for an extra attacker, but the Bears and Talarico preserved the victory.
Dries stopped 21 shots on the afternoon. The Hawks finished the contest 0-8 on the power play while Potsdam was 0-3.
Bears Head Coach Chris Bernard felt his team executed the game plan extremely well this weekend.
"It's great for us to play with the lead and we were able to establish the tone and the tenor right away," said Bernard. "I think you saw that first goal as an example of that. We got the puck deep and we were able to make a solid play to the net and finish. Another point of emphasis for us in the second semester has been improving our penalty kill. I think the number one thing we've got to do is take less penalties. At the same time, sometimes you get in the flow of a game and things just happen. Our guys answered the bell today."
Bernard, a former goalie, was very pleased with his own goaltender over the last 120 minutes.
"He (Talarico) was solid all the way through," Bernard added. "He gave us a chance to win when we made mistakes. When there were breakdowns, he was on time with the saves that were necessary. The guys love him. They want to play hard for him and we're excited about his performances."
The Bears will try to keep their hot streak going next weekend when they host Castleton State on Friday and Skidmore College on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.