The Unbalanced Schedule
When Morrisville entered the league, the odd number of teams meant the schedule would be imbalanced from a timing standpoint. In the past, at any given time, with rare exceptions, when you looked at the standings, everyone played the same number of games. It made it very easy to determine the status of each team and what they needed to do.
It got even worse this year, because the coaches agreed to rearrange the prior scheduling agreement, and ensure Morrisville got to play everyone home and away. It was the fair thing to do. However, now the scheduling is even more unbalanced. As one coach put it, it’s weird looking at the standings now.
It also means that on some weekends, there are only a few teams playing conference games, and sometimes a different amount. Thus, this early in the season, the standings don’t really say much. You can, however, still note when significant games and results occur.
Brockport beating Morrisville, 5-2, is one of those games. Morrisville just came off nearly upsetting Geneseo, losing in overtime, 2-1. Morrisville’s last game against Brockport was the Mustangs’ first SUNYAC win. So for Brockport not to allow that to happen again, starting out the conference season with a win, is important for the Golden Eagles. On the flip side, Morrisville coming away after two hard fought games at home without a point is not the way they wanted to start.
“They are scary,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said, echoing the thoughts Geneseo’s coach Chris Schultz said before their game. “They come at you hard. They play excellent hockey as far as forechecking and bottling you up. It took awhile for our guys to adjust to them. Brian’s got them playing very well.”
The first period was scoreless, but then Brockport jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Mike Gershon (power play), Dave McNab, and Ryan Silveira.
“The second period, we got a power-play goal, and I thought that changed the momentum,” Dickinson said. “The rout could have been on, but to their credit, they continued to work hard.”
That hard work resulted in two straight Mustangs’ power-play goals sandwiched around the second intermission by Tom Longland and Dana Calderone. James Cody gave Brockport some breathing late in the third. Ryan Tremblay clinched it with an empty- netter.
“I thought it was a solid game where we were fortunate to win,” Dickinson said.
In fact, Morrisville out shot Brockport, 44-33. Todd Sheridan made 42 saves.
Buffalo State splitting the weekend trip up north was also significant, beating Potsdam, 6-3, then losing to Plattsburgh, 4-2.
“Playing on Friday night, Potsdam was a pretty good hockey team,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “We were executing on some of our plays. We were happy mostly with the effort of our guys, especially when we had a good lead.
“Always good to come away from a North Country trip with some points.”
Autism Awareness Night
Buffalo State will be hosting an Autism Awareness Night during Friday’s game against Cortland.
“Assistant coach Jason Greenway’s nephew was recently diagnosed with autism, so it’s something near and dear to his heart,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said.
“It hit close to home with me,” Greenway said. “When you research it, you realize so many kids have it nowadays. Main goal is in the name of the event, to raise the awareness. One of out 150 kids have it. And then to raise money to help fund the treatment for kids.”
The players will be wearing Autism Awareness patches on their jerseys. Auctions, raffles and the sale of Buffalo State Hockey Autism Awareness buttons will take place with all proceeds from the event to be donated to the Dr. Gertrude A. Barber National Institute, a center devoted to children with autism.
“Children from all over the world go there to get diagnosed and treated,” Greenway said. “I’d like to be able to do it annually. We’re working on doing a few more fundraisers throughout the year with the guys. Hoping this is the stepping stone for further efforts.
“I spoke to the guys when this came up. We’re a tight knit group, and they’re behind me 100%. The guys are happy to be involved to make the night a success.”
SUNYAC Short Shots
Buffalo State went four for eight on the power play with Kerry Barchan netting two in a 6-3 win over Potsdam … Plattsburgh also went 50% on the power play (3 for 6) against Fredonia with Joey Wilson scoring twice in the 5-2 win … Casey Balog scored in overtime to lead Geneseo over Morrisville, 2-1 … Erek Selleck and Matt Whitehead each scored a pair as Oswego put 51 shots on Cortland in a 6-1 victory … Brockport out shot Hobart in the third period, 16-7, in an attempt to tie the game, but lost 3-2.
Ryan Corry scored the game winner in the second period as Plattsburgh beat Buffalo State, 4-2 … All the scoring came in the second period as Potsdam beat Fredonia, 2-1 … Mark Lozzi scored Oswego’s last two goals to help his team beat Elmira, 6-4 … It took till the third period for Geneseo to finally get on the scoreboard against Lebanon Valley, but they finally did, winning 4-1 … Kyle Haines and Matty Davie scored twice as Cortland pounded Lebanon Valley, 8-3.
Game of the Week
There are only seven games being played this weekend. All of them are conference match-ups. No game jumps out as a clear selection, though there are some to keep an eye on.
Oswego takes their first long road trip of the year, and it won’t be easy when facing the hard working, tough Fredonia and Buffalo State squads. The Finger Lakes battle takes place as Brockport travels to Geneseo. Never count anyone out, especially the underdog, in that rivalry.
“I expect a low scoring, physical game,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “The two teams always hook up to play tough games. I don’t think the two teams like each other. They are our rivals.”
The game of the week I’m selecting is Cortland at Buffalo State. This is a contest that my preseason selection indicated would be a key game in the final standings. With the way these two teams have performed so far this year, I still believe this game will make a key difference down the road.
Buffalo State and Cortland did not play each other in the SUNYAC Challenge, but they did watch each other.
“Got a chance to see them play earlier against Fredonia,” Carriere said. “They got a pretty deep lineup of guys that work hard and do a lot of little things well. Definitely not taking them lightly.”
“I watched them play in the SUNYAC Challenge,” Cortland coach Joe Baldarotta said. “I don’t know if that is an indicator. I have a lot of respect for them. We just have to win some games. We have to get some points. Everybody needs to get some points. You don’t miss the playoffs by losing games late in the season. You miss the playoffs by losing games in the beginning of the season.”
And with the special charity theme the night of this game, there’s no reason not to check it out.
On The Periphery
Watching Texas Tech surprise the college football world by beating four consecutive top 12 teams causes me to recall other teams that seemingly came out of nowhere to make an unlikely run at national prominence. Hawaii last year. Rutgers before that.
So, I can’t help but ponder the same in Division III college hockey. Adrian was such a team last year. Who will it be this year?
Of course, coming up with a possibility is a Catch-22. If you name a team that could come out of nowhere, they would no longer be coming out of nowhere — you just pointed them out as a team to watch. It has to be a team no one thought of. Thus, you can’t ponder this after all.
So, stop thinking about.