Home College Blake lifts Potsdam to OT victory

Blake lifts Potsdam to OT victory

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MASSENA, N.Y.—Sophomore forward Zach Blake (Campbellford,
Ontario/Plattsburgh State) scored 2:42 into overtime to lift the SUNY
Potsdam men’s hockey team (1-0) to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over
Saint Michael’s College (0-1). Bears junior assistant captain Mike Arnold
(Didsbury, Alberta/Kingston Voyageur) had a goal and an assist and
freshman goaltender Austin Keiser (Dunwoody, Ga./Boston Bulldogs) captured
his first collegiate victory.

The pace of the contest was quick from the opening faceoff, with Potsdam
holding the edge in play early. However, it was Saint Michael’s jumping on
the board first with a power-play goal. Senior forward Josh Geary fired a
bad angle shot past Keiser at 6:56 mark of the opening period. Potsdam
fired 10 first period shots on Purple Knights senior goalie Eric McGuirk
(Rehoboth, Mass./Bridgewater Bandits), but entered the first intermission
trailing 1-0.

Potsdam looked to take advantage several early power plays in the second
period, but a turnover in its own zone cost them. At 4:20, senior forward
Tim McAuliffe (North Reading, Mass./Vermont Academy) poked the puck off
the stick of a Bears defender and roofed it for a shorthanded marker.
Potsdam answered just 40 seconds later. Arnold found freshman forward
Billy Pascalli (Deer Park, N.Y./New York Bobcats) at the left side of the
net and he beat an out of position McGuirk for his first career goal.
Junior defenseman Nick Avgerinos (Bolton, Ontario/Georgetown Raiders)
recorded the second assist on the play. Another turnover hurt the Bears at
15:27 as junior forward Ryan Arsenault (Reading, Mass./New Hampton School)
stole the puck on Saint Michael’s blue line and took it the length of the
ice to increase the lead to 3-1. Again Potsdam answered quickly, just 52
seconds later. Freshman forward Todd Thomas (Davidsville, Pa./Harford
Wolfpack) cut the gap to 3-2 with his first collegiate goal. Freshmen Matt
Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska/Kenai River Brown Bears) and Mike Riley
(Brantford, Ontario/Brantford Golden Eagles) each recorded the assists on
the goal.

Saint Michael’s put good pressure on the Bears to start the final period,
but couldn’t pad its lead. Keiser stopped 15 shots in the third period to
allow Potsdam’s offense to even the score. The equalizer came at 12:44, as
Riley picked up a Purple Knights’ turnover and fed Arnold. It was all
Bears after the tally, but McGuirk helped Saint Michael’s limp to
overtime.

Potsdam continued the pressure until Purple Knight senior defender Morgan
Bell (Vancouver, British Columbia/Saint Albert Saints) was whistled for a
hooking call 46 seconds into overtime. On the ensuing power play, the
Bears ratcheted their offensive play up another notch. They moved the puck
around the Saint Michael’s zone with ease until they found sophomore
defender Erick Ware (Huntsville, Alabama/Kenai River Brown Bears) at the
point. Ware blasted a slap shot that seemed destined for the back of the
net, but McGuirk snatched puck out of the air. Seconds later Blake won the
contest on the power-play with assists from junior forward Adam Place
(Scarborough, Ontario/Bowmansville Eagles) and senior captain Matt Viola
(Toronto, Ontario/Vaughan Vipers).

In goal, Keiser finished with 29 saves and McGuirk stopped 40 shots.
Potsdam outshot the Purple Eagles 44-32 on the night. Saint Michael’s was
1-3 on the man-advantage, while the Bears went 1-6. Potsdam is now 8-0 in
the all-time series with the Purple Knights.

“Structurally, I thought we were on point with our game,” said Bears Head
Coach Chris Bernard. “Austin came up with timely saves that gave us a
chance to hang around and it’s got to feel good for Blake to make and
instant contribution. In Austin, I saw a kid that kept getting better as
the game went on. It’s a great start for him and something to build on. It
was great to see so many of our freshmen play so well in our first game.
It’s a credit to our upperclassman who’ve really done all they can to help
them get better every day.”

The Bears are back at Massena Arena tomorrow night to open SUNYAC play as
they host the Morrisville State Mustangs at 7 p.m.

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