Bears rally to clinch playoff spot in OT, match wins mark

More news about: SUNY Potsdam

POTSDAM, N.Y.—Freshman defenseman Delphine Léonard (Montreal, Quebec/Dawson College Prep) scored an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left in overtime to give the SUNY Potsdam women's hockey team (12-9-1, 8-6-1 ECAC West) a 4-3 victory over William Smith College (6-12-5, 3-9-4). The win clinched a playoff berth and matched the program records for single-season overall and conference victories. Senior forward Jordan Ott (Hilton, N.Y./Rochester Edge) scored the 59th and 60th goals of her career and sophomore forward Jenna Patterson (Boissevain, Manitoba/Westman Wildcats) chipped in a power-play marker. Freshman goaltender Alexa Pfeiffer (Sylvania, Ohio/Little Caesar's) made 20 saves for her eighth career win.
Potsdam went on the power play just 31 seconds into the contest, but it was the Herons striking first. After a turnover at the blue line, William Smith freshman forward Kate Klimaszewski (Wallingford, Conn./Berkshire School) went in all alone for a shorthanded a goal at 1:57. Still on the power play, Patterson scored 33 seconds later to tie the game. Freshman defenseman Shelbi Thacker (Chesterfield, Mich./Honeybaked) fed Patterson in the left corner and she fired. The puck rolled down the back of Herons junior goalie Maggie Salmon (Medford, Mass./The Governor's Academy) and into the goal. Potsdam outshot the Herons 10-5 in the first period.
After trading power plays to start the second period, the Bears went on their fourth at 11:00. Ott beat a screened Salmon from the left faceoff circle at 12:04. Junior assistant captain Anna-Rose Bertin (Marathon, Ontario/Canadian International Hockey Academy) and sophomore defenseman Rylie Murray (Berkley Mich./Honeybaked) each assisted on the play. Potsdam wasn't able to pad the lead despite two more power plays in the period.
Just 1:48 into the third period, William Smith sophomore forward Jordan Roetzer (Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville East) poked home a loose puck in the crease to tie the game at 2-2. The Herons generated good pressure for much of the first half of the period. At 16:02, junior forward Kiley Fewster (Fort Myers, Fla./Northfield Mount Hermon) fired a shot through a crowd from the left point to put William Smith back in front 3-2. The lead lasted only 47 seconds, as Ott forced a turnover at the Heron blue line. She went in all alone and ripped a shot that grazed the crossbar over Salmon's left shoulder. Both teams nearly scored in the final minutes of regulation, but headed to overtime tied at three.
With Potsdam needing just a tie to eliminate the Herons, William Smith pulled Salmon with just under two minutes remaining in overtime. She briefly reentered after the Herons were called for an interference penalty. With 14 seconds left, Léonard scored on a shot from the right point to end the contest.
Salmon had another strong day with 25 saves. William Smith was 0-for-4 on the power play and Potsdam finished 3-for-8.
The Bears are currently tied for fifth place in the ECAC West with Utica. They'll host the on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in a contest rescheduled from Nov. 20. As the standings are currently, the Bears could still finish as high at third or as low as sixth. Either way, they will make their first playoff appearance since 2014 on Feb. 25.

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