Vander Esch, Michura rally Bears men's hockey for 2-2 tie with Fredonia
POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's hockey team (8-9-5, 4-7-2 SUNYAC) scored twice in the third period to forge a 2-2 tie with SUNY Fredonia (9-9-4, 5-7-1 SUNYAC) on Friday evening. Senior captain Dylan Vander Esch (San Jose, Calif./Hartford Wolfpack) and freshman forward Paul Michura (Chester, N.J./New Jersey Rockets) each scored and senior captain Kyle Thacker (Mississauga, Ontario/North York Rangers) had two assists.
Fredonia jumped out in front just 2:04 into the contest. With 28 seconds left in a Blue Devils power play, Colin Valentine fed Tommy DeFelice who then connected with Mike Freeman. Freeman scored from the left faceoff circle. Potsdam earned a power play opportunity at the 8:15 mark, but was unable to capitalize. Fredonia kept the 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Senior Brendan McMenimen (Merrimac, Mass./Islanders Hockey Club) stopped 11 shots, while Anton Rosen made nine saves for the Blue Devils.Just as in the first period, Fredonia was able to get an early power-play goal, only a 1:25 into the second. Potsdam attempted to clear the defensive zone, but was intercepted by DeFelice behind the net. DeFelice hit Freeman, only to receive it back and score from the right faceoff circle. The Blue Devils got three more power-play opportunities in the middle 20 minutes, but couldn't pad their lead. The Bears couldn't take advantage of two man advantages as they continued to be frustrated by Rosen. McMenimen made 17 second period saves
Potsdam started the third with eight quick shots, but could not get one on the board through the first half of the period. Potsdam went on a 4-on-3 power play at 10:19 and Vander Esch made the Blue Devils pay. After receiving the puck from Thacker and freshman defenseman Jon Venter (Guilford, Conn./Syracuse Stars), Vander Esch fired from the left faceoff circle and beat Rosen high at 10:51. Nearly, six minutes later Thacker took a one-timer close to the blue line, only to be redirected by Michura a few feet in front of the goal and the score was tied. The Bears outshot the Blue Devils 19-3 in the third to force overtime.
Potsdam took all six shots in overtime, but couldn't turn on the red light, settling for a draw.
McMenimen finished the night with 30 saves, while Rosen had 36. The Blue Devils were 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Bears were 1-for-7.
The Bears are currently tied for sixth place with Plattsburgh State, just one point behind Fredonia and Brockport for fourth.
Potsdam returns to action tomorrow 7 p.m. as the Bears host Buffalo State. Prior to the start of the contest, Potsdam will honor McMenimen, Thacker, and Vander Esch, Joey Gilhooly (Brooklyn, N.Y./New York Bobcats), Sean Kacerosky (Kendall Park, N.J./New York Bobcats), and Jake Martin (Montreal, Quebec/Concordia) on Senior Night.