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Thompson Gives Bears OT Victory In Opener

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POTSDAM, N.Y.-Senior forward Matt Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska/Kenai River Brown Bears) scored 1:20 into overtime to give the SUNY Potsdam men’s hockey team (1-0, 1-0 SUNYAC) a 2-1 victory over Morrisville (0-1, 0-1) on Friday night. Senior forward Billy Pascalli (Deer Park, N.Y./New York Bobcats) also scored for the Bears and sophomore goalie Brendan McMeniman (Merrimac, Mass./Islanders Hockey Club) stopped 21 shots to win his collegiate debut.

The teams hit the ice with good energy as expected on opening night. Speed was on display with several end-to-end rushes, but it was sustained pressure in each offensive zone that created the best opportunities. At 12:51, the Mustangs were whistled for goaltender interference and Potsdam went on its first power play of the season. Just 37 seconds later, Pascalli wristed a shot over the shoulder of Morrisville sophomore goalie Steven Dombrosky (Elizabethtown, Pa./Pickering Panthers) for a 1-0 lead. The play was started with passes from junior defenseman Jake Butler (Atlanta, Ga./Smith Falls Bears) and sophomore defenseman Kyle Thacker (Mississauga, Ontario/North York Rangers). The Mustangs responded with pressure, but were unable to tie the game. The Bears outshot Morrisville 8-5 through the first 20 minutes.

Penalties were called one after another throughout the middle stanza in an increasingly physical contest. At 3:41, Potsdam was called for a trip as the Bears were clearing their defensive zone to give the Mustangs their first man advantage. However, Potsdam killed the penalty and immediately went on consecutive power plays. The Bears tested Dombrosky with five shots, couldn’t add to their lead. The stanza’s physicality continued and Morrisville got a second power play midway through the period. McMenimen stayed sharp and kept Potsdam in front. The teams alternated another penalty each as the period expired, but the score remained 1-0 Potsdam. The Bears finished the 20 minutes with 10-6 advantage in shots.

The Mustangs went on their fourth power play early in the third, but McMenimen and Potsdam’s defense shut them down again. Morrisville finally tied the game at the 6:24 mark as freshman forward Jimmy Philbin (Chicago, Ill./Mattawa Blackhawks) jammed the puck home with assists from sophomore forwards John Lauer (Syracuse, N.Y./Syracuse Stampede) and Storm Adams (Akwesasne, N.Y./Daniel Webster College). After the goal the frantic end-to-end action returned, but no one could net the decisive tally in regulation.

Just over a minute into the extra session, senior captain Todd Thomas (Davidsville, Pa./Hartford Wolfpack) moved the puck ahead to Thompson. Thompson passed it left to senior forward Jake Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Hartford Wolfpack) who gave it back to Thompson. The action was repeated again at the top of the crease and Thompson tapped it past an out of position Dombrosky to end the contest.

Dombrosky finished with 28 saves. The Bears outshot Morrisville 30-22 and went 1-for-4 on the power play. The Mustangs were 0-for-5 on the man advantage.

The Bears make their way to Morrisville tomorrow night to take on the Mustangs at 7 p.m. to complete the home-and-home series.

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