Defining Defense at Fredonia

Green Hockey
Fredonia is doing their share to save our planet; they are not wasting electricity to turn on the red light.

In three conference games, there has been a total of 11 goals scored in Fredonia games. To put that in perspective, Morrisville has scored 11 goals themselves in just two games.

“I think Fredonia did a good job keeping the game where it was difficult to get a lot of offense,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said after their matchup this past Friday.

This is typical Fredonia hockey — bottle up the middle, don’t give up odd man rushes, play tight, tough team defense, and back it up with strong goaltending.

In conference play, freshman Mark Friesen has a 1.96 GAA and a .940 save pct.

They may have solved their inconsistent goaltending problem from last year, and they are playing typical Blue Devils’ defense, so it’s the other side of the rink where Fredonia is unwillingly keeping the bulbs dim.

Comparing stats this early can be troublesome. Nonetheless, Fredonia only has four goals in three SUNYAC games (two of which were on the power play and one was in overtime) for a 1.33 goals per game average. Last year, they were a third best 4.44 in conference. Granted, that’s uncharacteristic of them, considering the year before their average was only 2.94, second worse in the league.

Did they have to open up their offense last season because they were letting up more goals? Or the other way around? Which is the cause and which is the effect?

Fredonia’s coach Jeff Meredith thinks it has to do with attitude.

“We think we’re much better than we really are,” he said. “And if we are much better than we really are, we really should do more than score three regulation goals in the last three games. If we are as skilled as the vibe I’m picking up from them, you got to get more than one goal a game. I keep telling them, it’s college hockey. It’s not about skill. It’s about guts and work and discipline and battles. I got some of them buying into that, and I got others who are not on the same page.

“Geneseo is going to come in and watch us pin our ears right back if we don’t get religion between now and then. I’m concerned right now because we are not on the same page.”

After Geneseo comes Brockport on Saturday, a team that is also struggling to score. Don’t expect a high electric bill that night.

Game of the Week
More like trip of the week.

Morrisville is doing exactly what some preseason prognisticators thought they would do.

“It was a great weekend for us,” Morrisville coach Brian Grady said. “Not just for the two W’s. We had a great crowd. There’s great enthusiasm all over campus.

“One week ago before against Elmira, we were sitting in their locker room not feeling so confident. After last weekend, we’re sitting in the locker room feeling very confident. We know it’s a long season. The focus has to be there. The effort has to be there.”

That will be tested this weekend when the Mustangs make the always tough trip up to the North Country to face Potsdam and then a rested, and eager, Plattsburgh.

“The past couple of games hasn’t been what Potsdam wanted,” Grady siad. “We took two games from them last year, so they are going to want to exact some revenge. They’re a dangerous team. It’s just a matter of time when they get clicking.”

After losing to Oswego, Grady knows Plattsburgh is waiting like a wild animal eyeing the piece of meat just outside its cage.

“They’re obviously going to be raring in their home opener,” he said. “The crowd is going to be ready to go. It’s going to be a great hockey environment, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

“We’re starving for a home game,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “We have to get better. We have to get smarter. We’re just looking to get home.”

This will be a true test for Morrisville. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict they pass the test, sweeping the weekend.

Other Picks
Last week, I went 4-3 with the Cortland-Hobart game ending in a tie (where this time it was the Red Dragons who scored a key late goal to send it to overtime).

Looking from the home team’s perspective, Buffalo State will split their weekend, beating Brockport but falling to Geneseo.

Fredonia will duplicate that result on the opposite nights, losing to Geneseo before beating Brockport.

Oswego will dispatch their travel partner, Cortland, before hitting the road themselves for a nonconference game at Utica, which the Lakers will also take.

All the games are 7:00 p.m start times.

Happy Veterans Day and a big thank you to all who served.