It Was Good To Be Home: Conference Play Heats Up Action
Conference play resumed last week in the SUNYAC, and out of all the games only one was won by a visiting team. That one was Geneseo upsetting Oswego, dropping the Lakers into third place.
Potsdam remained in second thanks to a pair of victories, neither of which came easy. Plattsburgh also swept, and thus also remained in its first place position. Meanwhile, Fredonia dropped both games, losing ground to the leaders, but remained in fourth place — albeit tied with Geneseo, which grabbed three points out of the weekend. Buffalo State was brought back down to Earth with a pair of losses, Cortland gained some distance for the last playoff spot, and Brockport remains in the cellar.
Team By Team Report
PLATTSBURGH (Ranked No. 4) — The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead over Fredonia State on goals by Paul Dowe, Mark Coletta on the power play, and Bryan Murray. Then, Plattsburgh State had to hang on for the win as Fredonia came back to score twice. Plattsburgh’s defense is what won the third period as the Cardinats allowed just three shots on goal. Niklas Sundberg made 14 saves. The next night, it took Plattsburgh till the third period to shake a pesky Buffalo State squad for an eventual 7-1 victory. After Rob Retter gave the Cardinals a first period lead, Buffalo State tied it in the second on a shorthanded goal. Plattsburgh retook the lead 31 seconds later on a power-play goal by Eric Weidenbach. Weidenbach scored again before the second period was out. The third period was all Plattsburgh’s, with four more goals thanks to Derrick Shaw, Brendon Hodge, Jeff Hopkins, and Coletta. Plattsburgh hosts Geneseo and Brockport looking to hold first place.
POTSDAM — The Bears did what they needed to do by sweeping the weekend, and got a little help to claim sole possession of second place. However, it wasn’t easy. Against the upstart Buffalo State Bengals, Potsdam State found themselves in a 4-1 hole entering the third period. Then, Potsdam exploded for five goals for the 6-4 comeback victory. Mike McCabe got a hat trick which included the last two goals. David Weagle got a pair of goals and Kevin Shaver got one. Ryan Venturelli was replaced by Todd Manley after letting in the first three goals. The next night, Venturelli was back on top of his game earning a shutout over Fredonia State, 2-0. Despite 60 minutes of hockey and Potsdam getting off 42 shots on goal, all the scoring occurred in an 8 second span in the second period. Brian Rice scored with the Bears up by two men, and before anyone could settle back into their seats Brett Joly scored with Potsdam skating with one extra man. The Bears remain home taking on Brockport and Geneseo in a weekend they cannot afford to become lackadaisical, before heading to Hobart for a non-conference game.
OSWEGO — The Lakers breezed through their first game only to stumble in their second. Oswego State shutout Brockport State, 7-0, outshooting the opposition, 60-20. Only Mike Lukajic had a multi-goal game as he scored twice. Joe Pecoraro, Nate Elliott, Chris DiCarlo, Rob Smith, and Kevin Klesspies also scored. Joe Lofberg and Nate Spadafore shared the duties in net for the goose egg. The next night, Oswego came out flat and didn’t wake up till the final nine minutes, but it was too little too late as they were upset by Geneseo State, 4-3. DiCarlo did give Oswego a 1-0 lead, and Joe Carrabs tied it up while shorthanded late in the second. However, Geneseo scored two quick goals early in the third, and despite outshooting Geneseo in that period, 16-8, Oswego could only muster one more goal by Pecoraro. Oswego then had a non-conference game against Williams College, and after falling behind 3-0, scored six goals in the final 23:12. Cavallaro got a pair. Carrabs, Matt Vashaw, DiCarlo, and Kris Harris scored. Lofberg got the win with 28 saves. Oswego travels to Fredonia and Buffalo State as they attempt to at least stay in third place.
FREDONIA — It was a devastating weekend for the Blue Devils. Fredonia State came into this weekend playing their best hockey of the year. They were also just one point out of second and three behind first. When it was all over, they fell five points out of second and seven out of first. And both games were tight contests. Against Plattsburgh, they fell behind 3-0, but fought back only to fall short, 3-2. Dan Showalter scored late in the second and Dave Mugavero scored 24 seconds into the third. However, Fredonia only got three shots off in that final period, and thus could not tie the game. Will Hamele made 28 saves. Against Potsdam, they played another low scoring defensive battle. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils got themselves into penalty problems late in the second, and let up two power-play goals within 8 seconds of each other, losing the game, 2-0. Hamele made 40 saves. Fredonia returns home to face Oswego and Cortland in must win games if they want to hang on to home ice advantage for the first round.
GENESEO — The Ice Knights were the only team to put a little bit of a monkey wrench in the standings this week by upsetting Oswego, 4-3. First they tied Cortland State, 2-2. Geneseo State took a 2-0 lead on goals by Scott Lephart and Tony Scorsone. They couldn’t hang onto the lead in the final 10 minutes of the game, and had to settle for the tie. Kevin Koury made 33 saves. In the Oswego game, they were able to hang onto a two goal lead for a win. Bryan Bowser and Jack Staley scored in the first to give Geneseo a 2-1 lead. After Oswego tied it in the second, Aaron Coleman and Peter Boudette opened the third with goals for a 4-2 lead that held up. Koury made 25 saves including 15 in the third period. The Ice Knights visit Plattsburgh and Potsdam. They need to steal some points if they wish to alleviate any pressure on them for the final three games of the season.
CORTLAND — The Red Dragons came away with three very important points after tying Geneseo State, 2-2, and defeating Brockport State, 5-2. Against Geneseo, Cortland State needed to score twice in the final 10 minutes to erase a 2-0 deficit and earn the tie. Scott Louis and Mike Pelletier did the honors. John Larnerd made 27 saves. Cortland then defeated Brockport, 5-2, with all the scoring completed in the first two periods. Cortland held 1-0, 3-1, and finally 5-2 leads. Greg Menchen scored a pair. Single tallies went to Dave Ambuhl, Ryan Schmidt, and Louis. Larnerd made 26 saves. Cortland travels to Buffalo State and Fredonia, with the first game going a long ways to deciding who gets the final playoff spot.
BUFFALO STATE — For the first two periods of each game this past weekend, it was starting to appear that Buffalo State was indeed going to make their mark in the second half of the season. However, the final period proved to be their downfall. The Bengals took a 3-0 then 4-1 lead against Potsdam State heading into the third. Goals were scored by Jad Ramsay, Joe Urbanik, Todd Nowicki, and Mark Yoder. Then the roof caved in, and Buffalo State surrendered five goals in the third to loss 6-4. Against Plattsburgh State, the Bengals once again hung in tough for the first two periods. After Plattsburgh scored in the first, Todd Nowicki tied it on a shorthanded goal. However, Plattsburgh retook the lead on the same power play and then scored again late in the second to take a 3-1 lead into the third. Once again, Buffalo State was overwhelmed in the final period, letting up four goals to eventually lose, 7-1. The Bengals return home to take on Cortland in a must win game for the last playoff spot and then face off against Oswego.
BROCKPORT — The Golden Eagles dropped both their contests, remaining winless in league play. Although down only 1-0 after the first period, their game against Oswego State was never really in doubt. Brockport State was pelted with 60 shots on net eventually dropping a 7-0 decision. The next night was a bit more competitive as Brockport lost to Cortland State, 5-2. Darren Kennedy tied the game up in the first period. After falling behind 3-1, Casey Firko cut the lead to one. However, Cortland scored twice in a row again to put the game out of reach. Brockport faces the rough task of traveling to Potsdam and Plattsburgh this weekend.
Upcoming Game Of The Week
This week’s pick goes to the Oswego at Fredonia game. With three points separating these two teams for third place, it becomes a must-win game for Fredonia, and a chance for Oswego to virtually lock up at least third. Both teams were playing very well heading into the second half of conference play, but both stumbled badly this past weekend. Runner-up pick goes to Cortland at Buffalo State. Those teams are in the same situation as Oswego and Fredonia — three points separates them — but this fight is for the last playoff spot.