This Week in SUNYAC

Jaw Dropping

The score updates coming in on Friday most likely caused a lot of jaws to drop. And then drop again. And again. A lot of chins were sore from hitting the ground.

Where do we start?

How about Brockport who, as the Potsdam radio announcer said, put a beat down on Geneseo, 7-2.

“We obviously caught them on a night where they weren’t focused on hockey,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “They took a lot of penalties. [Jeff] Pasemko was off. I emphasized to our guys that we really wanted to test their guy. We wanted to shoot from everywhere.”

Shoot from everywhere they did. After letting up the first goal by Daniel Sullivan, the Golden Eagles ripped off seven straight before Sullivan scored again to bookend the game. Some of Brockport’s goals came from long range floaters or outside shots that deflected off of players on their way in. The old adage is true — you can’t score if you don’t shoot.

“Got some awfully strange bounces that went into our net,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “I can name three goals that took weird deflections. That took the wind out of our sails.”

“We made a change on the power play getting big James Cody in front of the net and it paid off,” Dickinson said. “That got us going.”

Cody scored just as that power play expired and then Mike Gershon made it 2-1. Brockport ended up scoring three power-play goals, four unofficially if you count Cody’s virtual power-play tally.

Then came the slew of penalties.

“They took a rash of penalties at the end of the first period, and for the first time in a long time, we made someone pay for that,” Dickinson said. “We scored a couple of quick goals at the start of the second, and we were off and running from there.”

Those two quick goals were scored by Dave McNab and Gershon again. Gershon would earn a hat trick scoring Brockport’s last goal. Before that Aaron Boyer and Andrew Simmons also notched goals. Brockport had a 7-1 lead going into the third period and out shot Geneseo, 36-27, for the game.

“We played okay in the first and third,” Schultz said. “We didn’t play great, but we didn’t play poorly in the first and third periods. We took a bunch of penalties at the end of the first period, and they capitalized on them and really put the game away.”

Meanwhile, talking about beat downs, Buffalo State routed Cortland, 10-3.

“We just accepted the things that we’ve been doing well,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said of his team’s excellent performance this year. “We’re focused on the transition game, the passing from the defensemen to the forward. A lot of the simple things we’re doing well.”

After Cortland scored first on a tally by Justin Porpora, it was all Buffalo State. The Bengals scored three shorthanded goals, four power-play goals, Joel Sheppard got a hat trick, and Jim Durham scored twice. Jason Hill, Shareef Labreche, Kevin Kozlowski, and Will Lacasse got the other goals.

After scoring the first goal, the only exciting thing Cortland did was score on a penalty shot, converted by Mike Maier. Mike Egan got the other Red Dragons’ goal.

Not only did the game go well, but so did the Autism Awareness Night.

“We raised some good money for the cause and hopefully raised a little bit of awareness for it,” Carriere said. “Probably will make another trip to Erie where the [Dr. Gertrude A.] Barber [National] Institute is located to present the check.”

Perhaps not as jaw dropping, but another interesting game was Oswego beating Fredonia, 5-4. What caused some surprise in this game was Fredonia refusing to go away when Oswego opened up a three goal cushion followed by a two goal lead. When playing a team like the Lakers, one would think falling behind would be quite intimidating.

After a scoreless first period, the Lakers took a 3-0 lead on goals by Ryan Ellis, Brendan McLaughlin, and Joe Hall. The last two came 11 seconds apart.

“They got two quick goals in the second period, so we kind of fell asleep there, but we didn’t feel we were three goals down,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “We just kept working.”

Work they did, as Fredonia was hardly intimidated, scoring their first 1:06 later. James Muscatello got the goal on the power play with 46 seconds left in the second and then scored again 1:57 into the third. Oswego seemed to put the breaks on Fredonia’s momentum when Brad Dormiedy made it 4-2.

Then the jaw dropping began again when the Blue Devils ripped off two straight tallies (Richard Boyce and Andrew Dissanayake) to tie the game. However, Oswego would not be denied as McLaughlin got the game winner with his second of the night on the power play.

“They didn’t go away because we gave them a chance not to go away,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “Our defense made some poor decisions, and they capitalized on them. All in all, we played okay. We don’t want to squander those leads. It wasn’t for lack of effort. It was individual decisions.”

The Thrill and Agony of a Comeback

The Saturday game everyone is talking about is Oswego’s 3-2 overtime win over Buffalo State. And in every thrilling comeback, there are always two sides — the euphoric and the shocked.

For the majority of the game, it was shaping up to be yet another impressive Buffalo State performance. Cory Park scored on the power play midway through the first and Joe Curry got one early in the second to give the Bengals a 2-0 lead. A lead they would hold onto till very late in the contest.

“We started the game out like we did against Cortland, but we didn’t convert,” Gosek said. “They were opportunistic. We didn’t play poorly. Their goalie played very well. We didn’t find a way to get it past him.”

“We played a very strong game,” Carriere said. “Zach Grasley was playing really well. Our defensemen, as well as our forwards, just kept things in front of him. Our goal in the game was not to gift wrap anything for them because Oswego is such a good hockey team.”

That worked to perfection until 1:33 left in the game when Tyler Lyon scored.

“They came up with a timely goal. And when Oswego gets running around …” Carriere said.

Then, it was time to pull the goaltender, and shortly thereafter the controversy started.

“There was a very questionable slashing call away from the play which gave them a strong opportunity to score,” Carriere said.

Park got the slashing call with 19 seconds left. Six seconds later, Ryan Ellis scored to tie the game.

It got worse in overtime. D’Arcy Thomas received a major and game misconduct for hitting from behind at 1:51 of the extra period. Oswego now had the rest of overtime to try and score the power-play winner. They did at 3:30 when Chris Laganiere netted the goal on Oswego’s only shot in overtime.

“Right after it was sheer disappointment,” Carriere said of the mood in the locker room. “It was a good hockey game for 58 minutes. We felt it was taken away from us. We are happy with our effort. I felt we skated right there with a nationally ranked team. That’s the second week in a row we were able to skate with a nationally ranked team.”

“We never got down on ourselves and kept working hard,” Gosek said.

SUNYAC Short Shots

Connor Treacy scored twice as Potsdam put 49 shots on the Morrisville net for a 7-2 win … Plattsburgh got 47 shots on the Morrisville net with Phil Farrow and Kyle Kudroch each scoring a pair in an 8-3 victory … Kody Van Rentergem made 36 saves for the shutout as first period goals were enough to lead Fredonia to a 2-0 victory over Cortland.

Brockport’s Todd Sheridan has a 1.33 GAA and .955 save percentage … Plattsburgh has a 27.3% power-play rate … Brockport has an 87.0% success rate on the penalty kill.

Game of the Week

Is there any doubt?

But first, it will be interesting to see how Brockport does in their home games against Plattsburgh and Potsdam. The Golden Eagles have been playing some excellent hockey recently especially on defense and penalty killing. How well they fare against the second ranked team in the nation will go a long ways towards telling us what Brockport is truly made of.

“We really preach to them we have to take it one game at a time,” Dickinson said. “We really feel we’re a good team when we do the simple things and not try to do what we can’t do.”

This weekend will be a true test for that philosophy which has worked very well so far this year.

On the flip side, Geneseo needs to put last week’s performance behind them as they too face the same tough opponents.

“In SUNYAC play, you can’t worry about the past, only learn from it,” Schultz said. “We have to concentrate on Potsdam and beating them.”

As far as the game of the week, no question it is Fredonia at Buffalo State. Ever since Nick Carriere left the assistant job at Fredonia to take over the Bengals, these contests have been hard fought battles.

“Always good ones,” Meredith said. “The last how many games have been one goal hockey games?”

The answer, not counting empty net goals, is the last five in a row and eight all together. Three went into overtime including the classic double overtime playoff thriller back in 2007. Unfortunately for Buffalo State, Fredonia won all eight. In fact, Carriere has beaten his mentor just once.

“Nick’s got those guys going,” Meredith said of this year’s opponent. “One thing that scares me is they score a lot of goals. They scored 10 against Cortland, six against Potsdam, and were just one bounce away from beating Plattsburgh. They are playing really good hockey right now.”

Carriere could not have said it better:

“I would expect one of the best college hockey games you’ll see in the whole country. I think our guys have it circled, highlighted, cut out, pasted on their walls.”

So do we.

On The Periphery

I went to the Ice Plex at Morrisville for the first time. It is unlike your typical state school rink. It has the appearance and design more akin to a community rink. Simple, yet effective, but unlike any of the SUNYAC schools, it has two ice sheets.

The wooden stands are plentiful with good sight lines and heat provides the spectators comfort in an otherwise cold arena. There are plenty of locker rooms, good lobby space, very adequate concession stand and seating area, though the bathrooms could use some work.

All in all, a fine facility for a Division III college program.

Of course, you are all waiting for the one key question to be answered. Okay, maybe I’m the one who is waiting…

How are the hot soft pretzels?

Excellent. They serve them right out of the oven, so they are piping hot. The salt is good, though a bit too much, but that is easily correctable. Softness was perfect. The taste could have been a touch better.

All in all, Brockport and Buffalo State have a new contender.