Saturday must be the day garbage is collected on the campus of Buffalo State, and Fredonia freshmen must be the collectors.
The first-year players of Fredonia scored three goals off of rebounds, and added a fourth on a breakaway, to down Utica in the Buffalo State All-Sport Invitational Tournament by a score of 4-1.
“All freshman scorers — I like that,” said Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith. “We got a couple of opportunities and we banged some in.”
Utica and Fredonia have quickly developed a rivalry. Words were exchanged between Utica players on the ice and Fredonia players on the bench when the teams met last year. And that was remembered during the Fredonia pregame breakfast this morning.
“It’s nice to develop some rivalries out of conference,” said Meredith. “It is easy to get up for the in-conference games, but to develop something with an out of conference team makes it more interesting.”
The Fredonia freshmen took that to heart and tallied all four goals for the Blue Devils, playing a very physical game.
“We had a bit of a rivalry here last year,” said Utica coach Gary Heenan. “It was a huge game for both teams.”
Jim Gilbride tallied both Fredonia goals in the first period, each on the power play. His first came at the 5:20 mark when he slapped home a puck lying just outside the crease, where it had ended up after Utica goaltender Jake Miskovic stopped initial shots by Jeff Lumsden and Tom Briggs.
Gilbride’s second goal also came off a scramble in front of the net on a power play. He backhanded the puck past Miskovic at 16:01 to stake Fredonia to a 2-0 lead that it never looked back on.
Utica struggled in most facets of its play throughout the game. Breakout, passing, power play, penalty kill, you name it, the Pioneers struggled with it.
“Nothing, zero, I can’t think of a single positive from our play tonight,” said Heenan.
The Blue Devils scored one goal in the “pretty” category early in the second period. Gilbride took the puck in his own zone, and hit center Mike Fleming with a long pass as he was streaking through center ice. Fleming broke in to the Utica zone all alone, and steered the puck around a sprawling Miskovic for the picture-perfect breakaway goal.
“We’ve got a different group this year, and some great senior leadership,” said Meredith. “We are trying to keep things simple.”
Utica finally got on the board 15:38 in to the second period while on a 5-on-3 power play. Mike Levine wristed the puck from between the face off circles, and it eluded Fredonia goaltender Will Hamele for the goal.
Less than three minutes later, another freshman tallied for Fredonia, sealing the fate of Utica. Steve Greenberg poked in the puck off a scramble in front of the Utica net at the 18:08 mark.
The last can of garbage was firmly thrown in to the back of the Utica net, and the freshmen collectors of Fredonia had done a fine job.