POTSDAM, N.Y.-The SUNY Potsdam women’s hockey team (1-0, 1-0 NEWHL) got a 32-save performance from senior captain Alexa Pfeiffer (Sylvania, Ohio/Little Caesar’s) and goals from fellow senior captain Shelbi Thacker (Chesterfield, Mich./Honeybaked) and freshman forward Kaylee Merrill (Wasilla, Alaska/Anchorage North Stars) as they rallied to defeat Morrisville State 2-1 (0-1, 0-1) in the season opener. With her 21st career victory, Pfeiffer moves to the top of the program’s NCAA era-wins list.
The Bears outshot the Mustangs 10-5 in the first period. Potsdam built advantage thanks in part to a 2-1 edge in power plays. However, the contest was still scoreless entering the first intermission.
Morrisville killed another Potsdam power play four minutes into the middle stanza and then went on its second two minutes later. At 6:35, Mustang junior forward Mackenzie Lombardi (Hamilton, Ontario/Brantford Ice Cats) tipped a shot from junior defenseman Chyne Kennedy (Southwold, Ontario/Bluewater Jr. Hawks) past Pfeiffer for a 1-0 lead. Morrisville’s momentum was short-lived as Potsdam answered 1:59 later with two goals in 23 seconds. Thacker scored on a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle at 8:34. Sophomore forward Stephanie Dunlap (Bath, Mich./Meijer U19 AAA) and junior forward Emily Burke (San Jose, Calif./San Jose Jr. Sharks) each nabbed an assist.
The Bears won the ensuing faceoff and Merrill picked the loose puck out of the scrum, worked her way in close and beat Morrisville freshman goalie Adriana Harman (Eden, N.Y./Buffalo Bisons) on the backhand. Her first collegiate goal proved to be the game-winner. Morrisville evened the play and pressured the Bears late in the period, but repeated, critical stops by Pfeiffer preserved the lead.
Pfeiffer made the difference in the third period as well. She stopped all 16 shots that came her way. The Mustangs called timeout with 1:13 remaining and pulled Harman. The Bears defense slammed the door the rest of the way and didn’t give up another shot.
Harman stopped 21 shots in her collegiate debut. Morrisville was 1-for-3 on the power play and the Bears were 0-for-3.