Men’s hockey pummels Brockport, moves on to face top-seeded Geneseo

Bengals face tough test against nation’s ninth-ranked team in semifinals on Saturday


Dave DeLuca/The Record

The Bengals tied their season-high with seven goals in a route of Brockport.

By Dave DeLuca

Associate Sports Editor

No matter what, it was the final home game for the nine seniors of Buffalo State men’s hockey.

They chose to go out in style, tying a season-high with seven goals as the Bengals defeated Brockport, 7-2, in the SUNYAC quarterfinals.

In front of an estimated 800 fans, the Bengals used an offensive outburst in the second period to advance to the semifinals for a date with top seed and ninth-ranked Geneseo on Saturday.

“This was huge,” said senior goalie Kevin Carr, who made 28 saves. “Obviously, we don’t want to be done. We want to go to Geneseo and prove to them that we’re a good hockey team. I think we have some vengeance because of the game last weekend. It left a sour taste in our mouth.”

The sour taste stemmed from a 3-2 overtime loss to Geneseo last weekend.

Buffalo State had a 2-0 lead but yielded two third period goals and the game-winner in overtime to spoil the Bengals upset bid over one of the nation’s top teams.

Buffalo State jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Brockport with the help of a pair of goals from freshman Nick Berst.

Berst scored off a feed from Ryan Salkeld 13 minutes into the first period and then found himself all alone on a breakaway and finished a backhander over the outstretch pad of Brockport goaltender Aaron Green.

“I feel like we got a lot of momentum with the first goal,” Berst said. “We got the crowd into it, our bench was up and coming. After that first goal we just kept firing on all cylinders and really started to get after it.”

Dan Turgeon added a late first period goal and then struck again early in the second period to give Buffalo State a commanding 4-0 lead.

Brockport cut it in half with a pair of goals just 1:11 apart to make it 4-2. That’s when Buffalo State would take control with three unanswered goals in just a two-minute span.

“Once we gave up those two goals, we knew we had to settle down and get back to our game,” Berst said. “Right after we did that, we just executed our system, playing as a team, and played our style. We knew what we needed to do to keep the lead, and we kept it.”

Jake Rosen made it 5-1 when he received a cross-ice feed from Brett Hope and ripped it into the Brockport net.

Billy Strakosch scored a minute later with Shane Avery and Kyle Whipple drawing assists. Ben Kramer scored 36 seconds later to make it 7-2 off helpers by Salkeld and Mac Balson.

The seven goals scored ties the Buffalo State’s season-high. The Bengals scored seven goals on Morrisville back in November.

“Honestly, there was no secret to our offense,” captain Mike Zannella said. “It was our defensive game. We had a lot of odd man rushes, which came from guys coming low and working hard and making smart plays with the puck in our zone. Instead of throwing pucks off the glass, we were chipping pucks and making smart plays. We got pucks behind their ‘D’ and used our speed.”

The Bengals were coming off a 3-2 loss to Brockport on Saturday with the Eagles scoring the go-ahead goal on the power play goal in the third period for the win despite Buffalo State outshooting Brockport.

“As coaches, sometimes we talk about just making sure you shoot pucks and get pucks to the net,” head coach Nick Carriere said. “Good guys make passes and score on those plays and execute. I thought we played with a lot of speed. I thought we played a physical game. I thought we played a systematic game as well.”

Geneseo (20-6 overall, 14-2 SUNYAC) are ranked No. 9 in the country and have won six games in a row including that overtime victory over Buffalo State last weekend.

“We let that one get away from us,” Berst said. “Geneseo didn’t beat us that night, we beat ourselves that night. I feel like if we play like we did tonight we’ll have no problem going into Saturday.”

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