Plattsburgh And Geneseo Sweep; Oswego Ties RIT; Conference Play To Resume
Plattsburgh may have broken out of its rut with a pair of wins against NESCAC opponents Williams and Colby, while Geneseo also won both its games against Lebanon Valley and Neumann. Even though Oswego did not win a game in its series with RIT, the Great Lakers did provide the only blemish on the top team’s record with a tie the first night. Fredonia split its games, with a loss to Elmira followed by a win against Hobart. Cortland also split, beating Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts before losing to Elmira. Buffalo State still refuses to lose, tying Hobart, while Brockport’s struggles continue as it was blown out by Manhattanville and RIT; also, Potsdam lost its only game of the week to Elmira.
Now, the remainder of the season really gets underway: conference play resumes, with plenty of games left for anything to happen.
PLATTSBURGH (Ranked No. 4) — If you look at the shots on goal — 49-18 in favor of Plattsburgh State — you wouldn’t think the Cardinals would have needed overtime to dispose of Williams, 3-2. Derrick Shaw gave Plattsburgh the first-period lead, but Williams took a 2-1 lead into intermission. Plattsburgh’s Peter Ollari tied it up with less than seven minutes to go, and Rob Retter won it in overtime. Niklas Sundberg made 16 saves. In Plattsburgh’s next game, the situation was just the opposite. Plattsburgh only got 11 shots on goal against Colby, yet won, 4-1. Proving that quality is almost always more important than quantity, Plattsburgh led 4-0 before Colby even managed a goal. Shaw, Jason Kilcan, Chad Kemp, and Paul Dowe were the goal-scorers, and Sundberg made 25 saves. Plattsburgh hopes to take this momentum into conference matchups this weekend against Fredonia and Buffalo State.
OSWEGO (Ranked No. 9) — As expected, the Oswego State-RIT series was a rough-and-tumble, exciting pair of games, though the Lakers, despite tying one game, probably felt like they were not rewarded for their efforts. That tie, a 3-3 overtime affair, came the first night in Rochester, and the way the game started, few would have expected the result. RIT came out flying, scoring three times in the first 2:33 and chasing starting goalie Joe Lofberg, who looked unprepared for the start of the contest. Oswego was able to calm the tornado, and slowly but surely whittled the lead away. Joe Carrabs scored a shorthanded goal which may have been the key play of the night, and Rob Smith scored a power-play goal early in the second before Chris DiCarlo tied it up with six minutes left. Tyson Gajda stopped nine shots in overtime, including a 47-second power play for RIT, to preserve the tie. The only blemish in the game was an inexcusable act by John Hirliman, who hit a fan over the glass with his stick while in the penalty box, resulting in stitches for the fan. Hirliman was eventually given a game misconduct after the period, but this is still incident that the school and conference should investigate, as it is an embarrassment to the institution, the SUNYAC, and the game of hockey.
The series moved up to Oswego, and despite outshooting RIT, 47-28, the Lakers lost, 4-2. After RIT scored a power-play goal midway through the first, Brian St. John tied it up while both teams were down a man. With 10 seconds left in the period, RIT scored the key goal of the night to take a 2-1 lead. RIT then scored twice more in an end-to-end second before Derek Kern got one back 30 seconds into the third. That goal ignited the Lakers, but despite plenty of pressure could not muster anything else as Gajda made 24 saves. Oswego has a trio of home games this week against Brockport, Geneseo, and Williams.
POTSDAM — The Bears returned to action in a 5-1 loss at Elmira that dropped Potsdam State out of the national Top Ten, despite Potsdam outshooting Elmira, 47-28. That has been a recurring problem for the Bears — plenty of shots, but not many ending up in the back of the net. In a rough game (86 penalty minutes), Elmira took advantage of the penalty-box action by getting a power-play marker and a shorthanded goal. Elmira had a 4-0 lead late in the third period before Potsdam’s Sean Darke scored his squad’slone goal. Potsdam returns home to begin conference play for the second half of the season against Buffalo State and Fredonia.
FREDONIA — The Blue Devils split their weekend against ECAC West opponents. First they lost to Elmira, 7-3, scoring one goal per period. It was 2-0 Elmira when Clark McPherson scored shorthanded, and it was 5-1 before Mike Moyse and Erik Hlavaty scored. The next night it was Fredonia that jumped out to the early lead en route to a 3-2 victory over Hobart. Tim Polley, Dave Mugavero (on the power play), and Hlavaty scored before Hobart got its two goals, and Fredonia was able to hang on for the win; Will Hamele made 29 saves in net. Fredonia travels to the North Country for two huge games at Plattsburgh and Potsdam.
GENESEO — The Ice Knights swept the week, beating Lebanon Valley, 6-3, and Neumann, 7-1. In the first game, Geneseo State outshot its opponent 52-30. Dave Bagley scored twice with the other goals coming from Matt Lester, Jeremy Nau, Brian Avery, and Kyle Langdon. Geneseo had 2-0 lead become 2-1 and a 4-1 lead become 4-3, but finally shook off Lebanon Valley. Kevin Koury made 27 saves as Geneseo went 2-for-5 with the extra skater. Against Neumann, Geneseo fired off 63 shots while allowing 24. Aaron Coleman got a hat trick, and Derek Powell, Bagley, Jack Staley, and Peter Boudette each added a goal. Geneseo went 4-for-7 on the power play for a weekend total of 6-for-12, and Jeff Phelps got the win against Neumann with 23 saves. Geneseo resumes league play with games at Cortland and Geneseo.
BUFFALO STATE — The Bengals extended their unbeaten steak to seven games (and just two losses in their last 11 games) with a 5-5 overtime tie against Hobart. How even was the game? Both teams got 42 shots on goal. Both teams had five penalties for 10 minutes. Both teams had five power-play opportunities, with Buffalo State getting the only power-play tally. Neither team ever had more than a one-goal lead, though Todd Nowicki put together a hat trick with Joe Urbanik and Stephen Troup also scoring. Nick Berti made 37 saves. Buffalo State now starts playing for real again as the Bengals face two tough opponents on the road in Potsdam and Plattsburgh.
CORTLAND — The Red Dragons split two one-goal games this past week. First, they defeated the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 3-2 in overtime, in a game of call-and-respond — whenever Cortland tallied, MCLA would do the same. First, it was after a second-period goal by Shawn Ruddy, then after a third period-goal by Jeff Olsen. The Red Dragons won the game in the extra period on a goal by Trevor Bauer, and John Larnerd made 40 saves including four in overtime. Cortland then lost to Elmira, 4-3, despite a gallant comeback attempt. Elmira jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Cortland fought back with three power-play goals by Bauer, Chris Cullen, and Mike Cournyea. However, the Red Dragons were unable to get the equalizer in the final 17 minutes of play, including a power play and pulling the goalie for the final 51 seconds. Cortland hosts Geneseo and Brockport in two key games for playoff hopes.
BROCKPORT — The Golden Eagles are merely trying to survive for the rest of the season, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to do that. First, Brockport lost to Manhattanville, 8-2, despite having 11 power-play opportunities to just two for the Valiants. Brockport didn’t score until the third period, when it was 7-0, on the power play by James Uihlein. Dave Braunstein scored the last goal of the game. Then came the top team in the nation, RIT, and it wasn’t pretty as the Tigers won with ease, 14-2. The two goals were scored by Brandon Marineau and Don Stiner. Steve Tippett was quite busy, facing 74 shots and stopping 60 of them. The Golden Eagles travel to Oswego and Cortland.
Upcoming Game Of The Week
For Buffalo State, the real test begins this weekend. The Bengals have been impressive in their last 11 games; however, even with some quality opponents in that stretch, it won’t be like taking the dreaded North Country trip to play the likes of Potsdam and Plattsburgh back-to-back. For that reason, the Game of the Week is something like, “Let’s follow Buffalo State and see how the Bengals do.”