This Week in the SUNYAC: Jan. 9, 2003

PrimeLink, Part Deux

The four PrimeLink teams squared off in individual games last Saturday, both hosted by the SUNYAC teams, with matchups that did not occur back in November. However, the two Vermont schools got the better of the New York squads with both games decided in the third period.

Norwich defeated Plattsburgh, 5-3, and Middlebury beat Potsdam, 3-1.

At Stafford Arena, Norwich jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Peter Ollari got the Cardinals’ first goal early in the second period on a power play. It was an odd goal, as Ollari was simply sending the puck towards the net, but it deflected off a defender and past the goaltender.

Norwich regained the two-goal lead before Dave Young scored. Darren Partch tied it up early in the third period, but Norwich got the game winner on a breakaway and added an empty netter to clinch the win.

Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery was not happy, telling the Press Republican, “We have juniors and seniors out there making mistakes. If some of the players don’t want to listen, they won’t play, and they will stay out of the lineup. I don’t care who they are.”

Meanwhile, at Maxcy Hall, the shots were kept down by both teams, and it showed on the scoreboard as the first goal was not scored until 35:48 into the game when Middlebury grabbed the first lead. Halfway through the third, Mark Hathaway tied it up. A few minutes later, Middlebury retook the lead, and then added a power-play goal to put it away.

Potsdam only let up 17 shots in the game. That’s the good news. The bad news for the Bears is that they are still having trouble scoring goals.

Busy Cardinals

Plattsburgh was the busiest team in the new year, playing four games in eight days. It started out with three wins before the Norwich loss.

The Cardinals shut out Amherst, 5-0, as they outshot the Lord Jeffs, 46-21. Robb Retter scored twice, Chad Kemp and Jeff Hopkins each got a power-play goal, and Brett Gilmour scored his first collegiate goal. Craig Neilson started the game in nets, making 14 saves before Emery gave Curtis Cribble some action between the pipes. He saved seven shots.

Next up for Plattsburgh was hosting the Cardinal Classic. The locals got off on the right foot … or is that wing? … by downing Skidmore, 6-2, again easily outshooting their opposition, 42-24. Jason Kilcan scored twice, while Partch, Adam Richards, Hopkins, and Kemp each got a goal.

The game was close for a while as Plattsburgh’s 2-0 lead became 2-1 thanks to a shorthanded goal, and then 3-2 after two. Two power-play goals in the third period enabled the Cardinals to pull away. Cribble got the win with 22 saves.

The championship game was a harder-fought contest as Plattsburgh edged out a 4-3 win over Manhattanville. The Cardinals fell behind 1-0 before Kilcan and Jordan Smith scored. Manhattanville tied it up early in the second before Retter and Young gave Plattsburgh a 4-2 lead. Manhattanville got one of those back early in the final period, but Plattsburgh was able to hang on. Craig Neilson registered the win with 29 saves.

Plattsburgh gets a little bit of a rest before hosting Williams on Tuesday.

Tossup Goes To Oswego

The Oswego-Elmira game was a tough one to pick. The teams were evenly matched, and both have struggled at times during the season. It was Oswego which controlled the scoreboard starting at the halfway point of the contest.

Mike Lukajic scored first before Elmira tied it up in the first period. Then, the Great Lakers reeled off three unanswered goals (Gary Bowman, John Hirliman, Jean-Simon Richard) to take a 4-1 lead. Elmira got one back, but a shorthanded empty-net goal by Rob Smith sealed the game. Tyson Gajda made 29 saves for the win.

Oswego stays home, facing Johnson and Wales followed by Wentworth. A few years ago, those teams would have been chalked up as two easy wins. However, Wentworth has been a team to be reckoned with, having already tied RIT. It will be interesting to see how Oswego stacks up against this ECAC Northeast team.

Feeling Like A Bully

Want to feel like a bully? Just schedule Neumann.

In three games against the Knights, SUNYAC teams scored 21 goals while letting up just three. Fredonia got to enjoy that advantage twice, winning 5-1 and 10-0. Neumann got a grand total of eight shots in the first game and seven in the second one, while Fredonia got 63 shots in the second game alone.

Fredonia continues to play it “easy,” hosting two exhibition games against St. Claire College and Seneca before getting back to NCAA action.

Then, it was Geneseo’s turn to beat Neumann, 6-2, outshooting the Knights 47-22.

On the other hand, Geneseo wasn’t so lucky against Lebanon Valley, losing 5-4. After taking an early 1-0 lead, the Ice Knights fell behind, 4-1. They roared back to tied it up, but lost the game with just over a minute left.

Geneseo has a home and home with Hobart this weekend.

Cortland also faced Lebanon Valley, and that one ended in a 3-3 tie. Cortland kept tying it up after falling behind by a goal.

The Red Dragons host Wentworth then Johnson and Wales, as they continue to try and snap their winless streak, which now stands at eight (0-6-2). After these two opponents, Cortland gets the pleasure of facing Neumann. If the Dragons can’t break the streak then, they should be disbanded.

Break Is Over

Brockport’s long break comes to an end as they travel to New England to face Plymouth State and Framingham State. Not so for Buffalo State, which continues to enjoy the time off. The Bengals are either working on their fundamentals or their tan. We’ll find out when they finally get back to action.

The Featured Word: Whack!

There I was, driving home today, realizing that I didn’t have a clue about what word I was going to use for this feature. I made sure to leave work on time, because I hadn’t even started this column, so I knew it could be a long night, especially if I was racking my brain for a word.

As I slowed down in the traffic on I-490, the guy behind me slowed down as well. However, the guy behind him decided it was still a “go” when the stop-and-go traffic was most decidedly a “stop.”


Right into the rear of the car behind me. Whack. The vehicle behind me got shoved into the back of my truck, nudging me forward. I was lucky. There is no apparent damage to my vehicle. The guy who started it all had his Ford Escape front end all smashed up with fluids leaking every which way. The poor college-age kids who were sandwiched in their SUV had extensive back end damage, minor front end damage, and worse of all, complained of whiplash symptoms, so both were taken to the hospital on backboards.

This got me thinking. The force of a car crash can go from minor — like in my case — to major, as in the case of the vehicle behind me, to extremely serious. I wonder, just how does that compare to the forces involved when human bodies collide in contact sports like football — or hockey?

I have often wondered why car crashes seem to produce more injuries for seemingly-minor impact forces, than contact sports, with bodies flying at high rates of speed or hitting relatively immovable objects like the boards in a rink.

Even taking into account the better physical shape of the athletes, or race-car drivers who collide at unfathomable speeds. Even taking into account the significantly better safety precautions.

Of course, there are answers to this. The physics alone have produced numerous papers. And one can’t help but wonder how much of this boils down to taking advantage of insurance and/or the mentality of an athlete to get back up and continue on, no matter what.


In any case, it is a lot more fun watching it at the rink than experiencing it on the expressway.

Game of the Week

This game is chosen due to the circumstances: Elmira at Potsdam. This will be the first time that Glenn Thomaris faces his old team since getting back into college coaching, taking over the reins at Potsdam. He will also be facing his former assistant coach. Word has it that a lot of Elmira fans will be making the trip up to the North Country to see their old hero back behind the bench, but this time to root against him.

Thomaris may say publicly that this is just another game, but he has got to be feeling a little differently when he goes behind the bench. Besides all that, this is simply a good matchup.

A good second choice is Fredonia at RIT. Fredonia sits on top of the SUNYAC, but now gets a chance to prove itself outside of the conference. Last year, Fredonia stretched RIT to overtime before losing. This year, RIT won’t be taking its opponents lightly.