It's been nearly two months since the Fredonia State Blue Devils men's hockey team last won a game. That was until Friday night when the Blue Devils blanked the Potsdam Bears 2-0 in a crucial SUNYAC battle at Steele Hall.
"Obviously it was big for us to play the game we did," Fredonia State coach Jeff Meredith said. "Hats off to our hockey team."
After a scoreless first period, it did not take long for the Blue Devils to establish themselves in the second period.
OBSERVER?Photo by Courtney Gfroerer
Fredonia State goalie Mark Friesen (1) makes a save while teammates Taylor Bourne (29) and Tyler Sheppard (7) look on during Friday’s SUNYAC men’s hockey game against Potsdam at Steele Hall.
Will McLaughlin was a part of a 2-on-1 breakaway for Fredonia State and decided to keep it himself for the goal just 21 seconds into the second period.
"That was huge for us to get the first goal of the game," Meredith said. "Goals have been hard to come by this season. I think one of the biggest things this season has been closing out and we did that tonight."
A little more than six minutes later, McLaughlin struck again.
The senior forward took a shot on a tough angle which ended up finding its way into the back of the net.
"Will was outstanding," Meredith said. "Not only does he have unbelievable speed, but his feet never stop moving. Whether it was on the penalty kill, or picking up some extra shifts down the stretch, that kid was impressive."
With about seven minutes left in the second period, the Blue Devils faced a potentially disastrous mistake when Brian Doust picked up a five-minute major penalty.
However, behind the solid goaltending of Mark Friesen, Fredonia State was able to kill off the five-minute penalty and remain two goals up.
"Mark had to battle and fight through screens all game," Meredith said. "He was really key for us on the five-minute penalty kill."
Friesen made 25 stops between the pipes to record his fifth career shutout.
With the win the Blue Devils moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the SUNYAC with Buffalo State and Brockport.
Fredonia State stayed on track in the third period as it was able to keep the Bears from scoring.
With time running out, McLaughlin had an opportunity to complete the hat-trick on an empty net, but a Potsdam defender forced the shot wide.
With the team's first victory since Dec. 7, it is important for Fredonia State to continue to build momentum if it hopes to make the SUNYAC playoffs.
The team's next test is not an easy one as the Plattsburgh Cardinals visit Steele Hall today at 7 p.m. Plattsburgh is ranked third in the SUNYAC with a 9-1-1 conference record.