Last season was a disappointing one for Cortland. Expecting to make the playoffs, the combination of a resurgent Buffalo State program and poor play in conference games spelled doom for the Red Dragons.
“Last year we had 16 new kids on the team,” explained Tom Cranfield. “This year we brought in eight new kids. We’re still a young team. We like our recruiting class.”
For this year, gone is their leading scorer from last season, Matt Schillace. However, returning are Nick Catanzaro, Barry McLaughlin, Matt Goslant, and Chris Corso. As for the freshmen, Nick Schackford and Pat Palmisano will be looked upon to contribute to the offense while Niles Moore and Frank Rizzo will also help out.
Goaltending also took a hit to graduation. Gone is Matt Meacham who for many years kept his team in many games and was always a threat to lead a big upset.
“Anytime you try to replace a player who went on to play pro hockey, you have a tough task,” Cranfield said. “You don’t replace Meacham.”
Mike Mistretta transferred in from Northland College, while senior Jason Lojewski will be looking for his opportunity.
“We’ll wait and see who gets hot,” Cranfield said.
Even with Meacham last year, the team let up a league high of over five goals a game.
The defense will have to come up strong to protect the new goalie. Buddy Anderson, Mike Egan, Peter Deloria, and Jon Sandos should see the majority of playing time like last year. Michael Podlucky also returns to fight for more playing time along with newbies, Gerard Heinz, Tim Lloyd, Taylor Indivero, and Casey Hubbard
It won’t get easier this year. Missing Schillace and Meacham are going to hurt a lot. Combine that with no let up in sight for Buffalo State and Brockport looking to make some noise again going back to their regular coach, the Red Dragons may find it hard enough to stay out of last place, never mind think about the playoffs.
Cranfield is confident, “We’re going to look much better than last year.”