Fredonia State’s comeback attempt falls short, lose to Plattsburgh, 3-2

Matt Letmanski (3) tries to lift a pass through a Plattsburgh defender.

Saturday was not an ordinary SUNYAC game between the Fredonia State Blue Devils and the Plattsburgh Cardinals, but rather it was the biggest night of the year — Pink the Rink.

Trailing headed into the third period the Blue Devils only were able to get one of the two needed goals, resulting in a narrow 3-2 loss.

The nerves were high at the start of the game causing neither side to be able to sustain an offensive push. Plattsburgh, however, would get settled first when their top line of Pat Egan, Cam Owens and Cole Stallard were able to use their speed to generate good offensive pressure. Egan beat Eric Bogart for the game’s first goal.

“The one constant is the first period is just crazy,” said Fredonia State head coach Jeff Meredith. “I was happy we were only down 1-0, it could have been a lot worse.”

The Blue Devils responded properly with their top line raising the level of intensity and getting a good offensive opportunity, showing Plattsburgh that tonight would not be easy.

Bogart went on to face an onslaught of shots from the Cardinals in the first, but managed to stand tall, keeping the score 1-0 Plattsburgh after one.

“Bogey couldn’t afford a slow start tonight,” said Coach Meredith. “We had the slow start and he bailed us out.”

Bogart had an incredible 29 saves in the first period and 47 by the end of the game.

The first intermission was a needed break for the Blue Devils as they came out a different team, finding ways to break out of their zone quicker. On top of that the Blue Devils saw offensive zone time from multiple lines.

The Blue Devils saw a golden chance robbed by the Cardinals as Luke Rivera split the defense only to result in a Cardinal defender to hold him as a last resort. With the holding call, Fredonia State was delivered their best opportunity of the game thus far, a man advantage. Unfortunately, the power play was ineffective and the Blue Devils still trailed.

Soon after the shoe was on the other foot, as Plattsburgh got their first look on the man-advantage. The Cardinals were able to convert quickly as Cam Owens redirected a howitzer from Ian Wallgren at the point.

The next penalty was taken by the Blue Devils again, but on the ensuing penalty kill the Fredonia State capitalized on a bad turnover at the point by Plattsburgh. Tyler Riter grabbed the puck and down the left wing, Riter was able to sauce a beautiful pass past the Plattsburgh lone defender for a Jimmy Morgan redirect that cut the lead in half. The excitement from the crowd was short lived as Cole Stallard ripped a snipe over the shoulder of Bogart, who was screened by Owens, restoring the two goal lead.

The Blue Devils had a lot work to do headed into the third period trailing by two goals. Early in the third period the Blue Devils were able to silence the Cardinals offense and put some things together in their own right.

Halfway through the period the Blue Devils caught the Cardinals defense off guard, as Jimmy Morgan received a two-zone pass from Ethan Kirbis, sending him on a breakaway, Morgan then slipped a puck between the wickets of the goalie.

Down by just one with two minutes to go the Blue Devils gave everything they had, generating many great chances that were thwarted by Cardinals in the shooting lanes. After a few desperation blocks the game was over with Fredonia coming up just short, 3-2.

Tonight the narrative was not an important SUNYAC matchup, but rather it was bigger than a hockey game. Pink the Rink helped raise over $90,000 for the American Cancer Society. After the game each player gave their jersey to someone who battled cancer.

“It puts things in perspective for us,” said Coach Meredith. “There are people really up against it and battling some things. We can’t justify sitting in here and feeling sorry for ourselves because we lost a hockey game. The Pink the Rink game brings such an emotion to the arena. There is so many incredible stories, so many families that are incredible supportive. Little Ella Beach stole the show, there is just so many brave people out there.”