This Week In The SUNYAC: March 7, 2002

Here We Go Again

Forgive me for sounding like a broken record. Once again, a SUNYAC playoff series gets stretched to the limit. Out of the five series this year, three went to mini-games, one was decided in overtime in the second game, and the last one went to the third and final game.

A competitive playoff year it certainly was, but the interesting thing is, each and every time, the higher seeded team won. They just had to earn it. Really earn it.

Champs Once More!

Many think that Plattsburgh wins the SUNYAC championship every year. It only seems that way. The fact is, before this amazing six-year streak, the Cardinals never won it more than two consecutive times. The thing is, they had a whole bunch of those two-in-a-row spans. All together, Plattsburgh has been crowned SUNYAC champs 16 times out of 26 years.

Hmmm, I guess it really is close to every year.

The final series was reminiscent of 1996, when Potsdam and Plattsburgh tied the first two games. This time it was 2-2 and 3-3. However, specifically because of that year, they now play a third game, and Plattsburgh took it, 2-1.

Nobody had more than a one-goal lead until that third game. In the first game, Plattsburgh and Oswego traded goals in both the second and third period with the Cardinals taking the lead each time. Both second-period goals were on the power play. Goal scorers, in order, were Guy Come, Andy Rozak, Jeff Marshall, and Rob Smith. Shots on goal were 35-30, Plattsburgh.

Niklas Sundberg for Plattsburgh and Joe Lofberg for Oswego played the entire series.

Game 2 saw almost the same thing. Each team again traded goals, with the difference being Oswego taking the lead each time. This time, the goal scorers in order were Paul Perrier, Brendon Hodge on the power play, Smith, Jason Kilcan, Brian St. John, and Mark Coletta on the power play. Shots on goal were 35-34, Oswego.

Someone had to win, and when Plattsburgh took the only two-goal lead in the series in the second period in game three, it was effectively over. The Cardinals’ tallies were registered by Shawn Banks during a four-on-four and Come. Oswego came back to cut the lead in half on a power play goal by John Hirliman, but Plattsburgh buckled down in the final 30-plus minutes, and stymied the Great Lakers.

Plattsburgh gets the automatic berth into the NCAA, and takes its 20-8-2 record to RIT for the quarterfinal round, a rematch of last year’s national championship finale. For this round, the Cardinals will play two games, with a mini-game to follow, if necessary. Knowing the SUNYAC teams’ propensity to stretch things out, you can bank on this series going to a mini-game.

Th-Th-That’s All Folks

The very first SUNYAC Newsletter I wrote was on Dec. 19, 1994, for the orginal hockey3 e-mail list. Eventually, the column made its way here to USCHO. All told, this is my 119th issue.

It pretty much stayed the same all those years until this season, when I handed it off to Ed Trefzger, who implemented some long overdue changes. All for the positive. I thank him for that. I just couldn’t bring myself to changing my baby. When he asked me to take it back, I continued along that trend.

Most importantly, I (and Ed) hope we have both informed and entertained you, the college hockey and SUNYAC fan.

That’s it for another year. Thanks to all of our readers who make this effort fun. It wouldn’t be worth doing without you.


Last Week’s Question

Besides the aforementioned Belanger, how many other players won the SUNYAC Player of the Year and the SUNYAC Tournament MVP?

Three times the SUNYAC Player of the Year also won the SUNYAC Tournament MVP. Like we mentioned last week, Tracey Belanger of Plattsburgh did it in 1999, the same year he won his second consecutive Player of the Year. Sean Fitzgerald of Oswego also won both in the same year, 1989. The other player was Plattsburgh’s Lenny Pereira, who first won the Tournament MVP in 1992 and then the Player of the Year the next season.

Next Year’s Questions

Ed implemented a fun feature with these trivia questions. The only problem is, we pretty much used up all the obvious ones. So, in order to be able to continue this next year, we’ll need your help. Send us some of your SUNYAC related trivia questions (with the answers, please), and we’ll save them up over the summer.