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SUNY Potsdam men’s soccer runs past Johnson State

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POTSDAM - Junior midfielder Ben Firlit (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) scored two goals and recorded an assist as the SUNY Potsdam men’s soccer team (2-0-1) rolled to a 5-0 victory over visiting Johnson State (0-3). Senior captain Alex Minsker (Brewster N.Y.) contributed a goal and an assist to the Bears biggest offensive showing in five seasons.

The contest started in the pouring rain and both teams appeared slow to get their footing. It was Potsdam that adjusted first and the Bears never gave up control. In the 14th minute, senior forward Cliff Bondi (Guilderland, N.Y.) sent a cross to the left side of the box. Minsker received the ball and ripped if off a defender and past Badger goalie Alex Pakatar (Troy, N.Y.) for a 1-0 lead. Slowly the rain lessened and Potsdam’s offense picked up. At the 32:31 mark, senior defender Travis Jordan served up a perfect cross that Firlit headed home. The Bears took the 2-0 advantage into the break.

Despite a stormy forecast, the rain stopped at halftime and Potsdam put the game away in the second half. In the 55th minute, junior midfielder Kyle Cronin (Rochester, N.Y.) was awarded a penalty kick. Pakatar made a nice diving stop to his left, but the rebound came right back to Cronin, who headed it in softly for a 3-0 lead. Less than four minutes later, Firlit finished another header on a cross from Minsker. Junior midfielder Johnny Zator (Lido Beach, N.Y.) closed the scoring 1:42 later by burying a cross from Firlit. After the goal, the Bears got some inspired play and scoring chances from young players, but didn’t add to the lead.

In goal, sophomore Nick Davies (Webster, N.Y.), the reigning SUNYAC Goalie of the Week, needed just two saves in 58:25 to record the eighth victory his career. Junior goalie Jessie Kohler (Middletown, N.Y.) didn’t face a shot on goal over the last 31:35 of his Bears debut. Pakatar finished with four saves on the night.

Potsdam outshot Johnson State 23-4 and had eight corner kicks to the Badgers’ two.

The five goals are the most scored by the Bears since a 6-0 win over SUNY Canton on Sept. 9, 2009. Potsdam is now 13-8-3 in the all-time series with Johnson State, which dates back to 1973.

The Bears are back in action on Friday when they host the Skidmore Thoroughbreds at 6 p.m.

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