Bengals pummel No. 5 Plattsburgh, Potsdam


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Senior Taylor Pryce and the Bengals get a W over Brockport on Friday’s Senior Night. The Bengals celebrated their six seniors: Jake Rosen, Anthony Beaumont, Nick Berst, Darren Young, Mike DeLaVergne and Pryce.

Tony Callens, Associate Sports Editor

Last week, Buffalo State men’s hockey head coach Steve Murphy challenged his players, especially his seniors.

They responded in a big way.

Senior forward Taylor Pryce tallied two goals and senior goaltender Mike DeLaVergne recorded 22 stops to lead the Bengals to a 4-1 win over national No. 5 Plattsburgh on Friday night.

Even more impressive, the Bengals beat the Cardinals for the first time since 2011. Last year, they tied then lost 1-0.

“They’re a great hockey team and they’re always national contenders every year. What was important is we got off on the right foot, scoring first and scoring a second one,” Murphy said. “We had guys that bought into the game plan and stuck to it. It certainly wasn’t pretty hockey, but it was what we needed to do to be successful.”

The power play — which struggled last weekend — came up big in both games. Special teams as a whole clicked. Freshman forward Zach Remers tipped a puck in the net for a shorthanded goal to start the scoring for the Bengals and his college career.

Pryce weaved around and snuck the puck in the bottom-right corner of the goal to give Buffalo State the 2-0 lead in the first period.

Plattsburgh got on the board in the second period on the open end of the net with traffic in front. Pryce added his second of the night on the power play with a wrister from the slot for that all-important two-goal lead. Freshman defensemen Michael Anthony Guerrera finished the Cardinals off with an empty netter in the third period.

“I think we got the message through, and our best players were our best players. We got good goaltending, Taylor (Pryce) had a great weekend. It was more of a collective effort team-wise this weekend,” Murphy said.

The team followed the monumental win over Plattsburgh with another 4-1 win the next night, this time against the Potsdam Bears.

“It feels great. Everyone is learning the systems and buying in. We beat a top-five team last night and had a big win today, so if we do what we’re supposed to do, we can be a dangerous team,” DeLaVergne said.

The power play sparked the Bengals’ offense again as they went two for five with an opening goal from junior forward Zach Nieminen that was tipped in off a Pryce pass.

Remers added a power-play goal for his second of the weekend that stretched the lead to 3-1 in the third period. His role is starting to emerge early on in his Bengals career.

“It’s easy to play when you have a great group of guys with you, the linemates and stuff like that. The power play is really rolling right now, so it makes it pretty easy to get open and get shots,” he said.

Senior forward Jake Rosen added an empty netter to seal the game. With that, the Bengals have gone unbeaten in their last three games with two quality conference wins in this early season.

“We’re young, we’re fast, I’d say we’re more skilled than we have been in years past, and now we just got to take that skill and implement it and we’ll be a scary team to watch,” DeLaVergne said.

Murphy assessed his team similarly, but added that the depth of the team is greater than it has been.

“That goes in hand with competition in practice, competition fighting for roster spots night in and night out. If you have a bad game, we’ve got other guys that can step up,” he said. “It’s a team that believes because of last year. Having the older guys in the locker room, knowing they can beat anybody, it rubs off on the younger guys.”

The Bengals will take on their first non-conference slate of games this weekend with back-to-back games against Canton at the Buffalo State Ice Arena. The games will be on Friday Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, both 7 p.m. faceoff times.

email: [email protected]