Bengals overcome Bears surge for 4-3 SUNYAC victory
Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 7:43 am

BUFFALO, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men’s hockey team score two third period goals in 17 seconds to grab a 3-2 lead, but Buffalo State rallied for the 4-3 victory in the first round of the SUNYAC Playoffs. Senior captain Sy Nutkevitch had a goal and an assist to finish his Bears career with 103 points. The Bengals’ win was their first playoff victory in program history.

The Bengals (13-11-2) outshot Potsdam 12-6 in the first period, but as he has all season senior goaltender Kevin McFarland kept the Bears even with strong play between the pipes. Several Buffalo State chances came an on the power play after Potsdam was whistled for a major boarding penalty. The Bears weathered the storm and the game was scoreless at the first intermission.

The Bengals struck just 38 seconds into the second period as Shane Avery tucked the puck between the post and the pad of McFarland. Potsdam took advantage of a power play at the 4:30 mark. Sophomore forward Adam Place tied the games with assists from freshman forward Trevor Cope and Nutkevitch. Both team traded unsuccessful power play opportunities as the clock wound down in the period. However, Matt Bessing scored an unassisted marker with 1:43 left in the period and the Bengals led 2-1 at the second break.

Each team traded chances for the first seven minutes of the period and then the Bears offense heated up. At the 7:42 mark, sophomore forward Mike Arnold knotted the game at two apiece, getting assists from freshman defenseman Max Fogel and freshman forward Kenny Simon. Just 17 seconds later Nutkevitch gave Potsdam the lead for the first time in the contest. Cope and Place recorded the assists. After several big McFarland saves, Drew Klin got Buffalo State even at 12:30. On the power play with just 3:23 left, Taylor McGraw regained the lead for the Bengals. With 1:01 on the clock, McFarland was pulled for an extra attacker and the Bears created one last flurry before falling short.

In his final game in a Bear uniform, McFarland finished strong with 42 saves. Buffalo State’s Kevin Carr stopped 26 shots to close out the victory. Both teams were 1-5 on the power play.

Potsdam closes out the 2011-12 campaign at 8-16-2.