This Week in SUNYAC

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In Division III, it is relatively easy for a college athlete to transfer to another school. Whether that’s good or bad is best left for another discussion.

For some players, their transfer has worked out for the better for both themselves and their new teams. There are a few players who so far this year are making the most of their decision to switch schools and teams.

One of those players who has seen a reversal of fortunes is Peter Vaisanen who went from Neumann to Potsdam.

“A kid who didn’t get a lot of playing time at Neumann because they are just loaded,” Potsdam coach Aaron Saul said. “But I knew him from recruiting him from the junior ranks. I knew he was a talented player who could get the job done.”

In his freshman year at Neumann, he played 13 games, notching only one goal. The following year, the forward got into 12 games with two goals and one assist. So far in 13 games for Potsdam, he already has five goals (team leader), four of them on the power play, and six assists. The 11 points is tied for the team lead.

“Brought a ton of energy to our team,” Saul said. “Tough gritty player but with a nice touch around the net. He’s not afraid to go in the corners, and he’s scored some really pretty goals for us.”

Potsdam has another transfer who is doing quite well, except in this case he also did well where he came from. That would be Nick Carelli who originally played one year at Morrisville where he accumulated six goals and nine assists in 16 games. The 15 points were tied for second best for the Mustangs.

“His experience in playing has helped us a lot because he knows what to do in a key situation,” Saul said.

The forward hasn’t slacked off after moving up north. In 12 games he has four goals, which includes one power play and one shorthanded tally, and five assists, which places him fifth in team scoring.

“Great player,” Saul said. “Works very hard on the penalty kill unit. Great shot. Really quick wrist shot.”

Another player who did well before and after his move is Kevin Galan who went from Plattsburgh to Geneseo. He scored a lot of goals, especially on the power play, for the Cardinals (18 in his rookie year with 15 on the power play, 13 the following season, six coming with the man advantage), and is on pace to do the same with the Ice Knights as he already has seven in 10 games with five of them being a man up. Despite getting eight and 17 assists, respectively, at Plattsburgh, he has none in Geneseo.

“Big strong power forward,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “Brings with him a really, really good shot. Has a pretty good knack for the net. He’s stepped up and been a leader with the team.”

Casey Smith is another player who went from Plattsburgh to Geneseo. The junior defenseman went 4-4-8 and 6-12-18 with all his sophomore goals on the power play in his two years with the Cardinals. On Geneseo, so far he is 1-5-6.

“Good two-way defenseman,” Schultz said. “Spends a lot of time on the power play. He’s dedicated to seeing the team do well. He’s a good presence in the locker room.”

The goaltending position has also seen a transfer go well. Travis Moore, who performed well at Morrisville in his freshman year, now tends net for Buffalo State. Like with the Mustangs, Moore is seeing the most playing time, which is a surprise considering the Bengals still have fellow sophomore Kyle Gunn-Taylor.

While at Morrisville, Moore had a 3-6-0 record in ten games with a 3.98 GAA and a .901 save pct. This year, he is 2-5-0, the only two wins Buffalo State has, a 3.57 GAA, and a .884 save pct.

Moore’s success allows coach Nick Carriere the option of two solid goaltenders. Whether Carriere decides to go with one in the second semester will depend a lot on how well the transfer works out this year.

Transferring to a different school is a difficult decision that should not be taken lightly and can be quite stressful. It doesn’t always work out. But for some, it is the right decision that either turns around a career or enhances it.

SUNYAC Short Shots

C.J. Tozzo scored the overtime game winner while shorthanded to give Plattsburgh a 5-4 win over Geneseo … Zach Dehm scored a hat trick, two on the power play, as Cortland upset Buffalo State, 5-3 … Ryan Ellis scored on a first period penalty shot for Oswego to tie Fredonia, 2-2, which eventually ended 3-3 … Dylan Clarke scored two goals and Eric Satim got three assists as Plattsburgh beat Brockport, 6-1, out shooting the Golden Eagles, 50-27 … Oswego and Buffalo State combined for three goals within 50 seconds in the third period as the Lakers won, 4-2, going three for five on the power play with Garren Reisweber scoring twice … Fredonia scored their last two goals 43 seconds apart, beating Cortland, 6-2, with Colin Sarfeh scoring twice … Potsdam got the winning goal 38 seconds after Geneseo tied it in a 4-3 victory … It
took Brockport 47:24 before they scored, but they still beat Potsdam, 3-1 … Morrisville let up only 16 shots in their 4-1 victory over Johnson & Wales … Dave Schultz scored twice and six other players notched a goal in Morrisville’s 8-4 romp over Johnson & Wales.

Game of the Week

Two key contests get consideration.

From an emotional standpoint, the game that stands out is Potsdam at
Elmira. Those are the only two schools that have played a role in Saul’s
collegiate career. He played at Elmira for four years, was assistant
coach at Potsdam for three where he earned his masters degree, took the
same role at his alma mater for another six, and is now back with the
Bears as the head coach.

What’s it going to be like standing behind the “other” bench?

“It’s going to be definitely a weird feeling for sure,” Saul said. “I
got six years in that program, 10 if you count my playing days. A lot
of good friends in town and a lot of good people who supported the team
and myself. Definitely will be a strange feeling on the other bench.”

Potsdam and Elmira have been linked before. This game used to be
unofficially called the Glenn Thomaris Cup. Now, it can be called the
Aaron Saul Cup.

“I’m hoping we can play well and maybe knock off the number one team in
the country,” Saul said.

He paused and then added, “But, it’s with mixed feelings.”

There are only two conference games to be played for the last weekend of
the first semester. Oswego and Morrisville play a home-and-home,
starting on the shores of Lake Ontario. There are some interesting
non-conference match ups as the SUNYAC and ECAC West do battle with each
other: Fredonia at Neumann twice, Geneseo at Utica, and Potsdam at
Hobart. Castleton at Geneseo also bears watching.

The most interesting non-conference match-up and the pick for the Game of
the Week is between two Primelink foes: Plattsburgh at Middlebury.
This pairing did not occur in the Thanksgiving tournament, so it will be
eagerly anticipated by the fans.

Plattsburgh has one of the toughest non-conference schedules — Elmira,
St. John’s, Norwich twice, Middlebury, Williams, Tufts, Skidmore and a
team to be announced. This type of tough schedule could go a long way in determining the Cardinals NCAA fate and seeding.

But for the fans, it’s simply a great game. Plattsburgh comes in as the
newly ranked number one team (tied with Elmira) with an 11-1 record.
Middlebury has struggled slightly in the early going with a 3-2-1
record, but are still ranked No. 13 in the country.

More importantly, there is a lot of history between these two storied
programs, and whenever they face off against each other, it’s an
entertaining affair.

On The Periphery

The BCS is sure taking a bashing this year. However, it’s not the only
entity in college football that is messed up.

Take the Division III league known as the New Jersey Athletic
Conference. Now, you would think with the name New Jersey
Athletic Conference, the teams would all be from New Jersey.

You would be wrong. In fact, starting next year when two schools join
the conference to make it 10 teams, the schools from the Garden State
don’t even make up more than half.

That’s right, only five teams in a 10 team New Jersey Athletic
Conference are actually from New Jersey — College of New Jersey, Kean,
Montclair State, Rowan, and William Patterson.

Four of the remaining five teams are the four Division III SUNY schools
that field a football team — Brockport, Buffalo State, Cortland, and
Morrisville. The final school is Western Connecticut.

So, why is it called the New Jersey Athletic Conference when just
as many schools are not from New Jersey as are? Probably the same
reason the BCS left Missouri out in the cold.

When it comes to college football, one has to wonder whether it’s being
run by folks from institutions of higher learning.