In October, everyone had dreams. Fans were hopeful, players were eager, coaches were strategizing. Now, it’s February, and in just one weekend, the regular season will come to an end. Some dreams have already been shattered. Others are still within reach. Players will have to dig deep to find that second reserve. Coaches are making their final adjustments.
There are still plenty of possibilities to come out of this weekend. The tiebreakers are head-to-head record, conference wins, head-to-head goal differential, conference goal differential, coin flip.
The only team that can catch Geneseo is Morrisville, since the Ice Knights win a tiebreaker against Buffalo State. Geneseo also wins the tiebreaker against Morrisville…unless Geneseo ties its last two games and Morrisville sweeps theirs. Then Morrisville takes second place based on the second criteria of more conference wins. If there is a three-way tie, it’s the same situation. Buffalo State losses out on all accounts.
Now, if Buffalo State ties Morrisville for third place, then it all depends on its game this Friday, since they tied their first meeting.
There are almost limitless combinations when you throw Plattsburgh into the mix with Morrisville and Buffalo State, especially since there are so many different ways a tie could occur. Suffice it to say, in two-way ties, Plattsburgh currently has the edge over Morrisville on head-to-head goal differential, which means ties this weekend can change the tiebreaker situation. Buffalo State has the edge over the Cardinals on head-to-head record. In a three-way tie, again the Buffalo State-Morrisville game plays a key role.
Bottom line? Do what I always do — wait for the games to be played out and then look at the standings. It’s so much easier and a lot less stress…
Meanwhile, individually within conference play only, Bryan Ross of Fredonia currently leads the scoring race (8-14-22) by two points over teammate Jordan Oye and Oswego’s Ian Boots. Plattsburgh’s Dylan Clarke has the most goals with 10, as well as power-play goals with seven, while Buffalo State’s Nick Petriello has the most assists with 15.
Zachary Vit of Geneseo is running away with the freshman scoring (7-11-18), leading by six points. Paul Beckwith has the best goals against average (1.99) with the first place team, and Adrian Rubeniuk has the top saves percentage (.930) for the second place team. The margins, however, are extremely slim.
Game of the Week
No doubt, the one game that has the most significant impact on the standings is Buffalo State at Morrisville. They are currently tied for third place, but this is Buffalo State’s last game. Fredonia has one more the next day against Fredonia.
To repeat what Brian Grady said last week, “This is unfamiliar territory for us. The opportunity that we tell the team is we can host here. That’s a huge, huge advantage for us. That’s certainly something we talk about.”
The last few years saw a couple of teams host a playoff game for the first time ever — Buffalo State and then Brockport. Now, Morrisville attempts to do the same. It would be a huge step up for this very young program which has consistently gotten better each and every year.
The last time these teams played, Morrisville had a 3-0 lead in the third period, only to have the Bengals score three power -lay goals for the tie. With the pressure ratcheted up, will the Mustangs hold up this time?
If Buffalo State wins, the Bengals will win any tiebreaker with Morrisville. If the game ends in a tie, the advantage goes to Morrisville with more conference wins.
Buffalo State would love to get back to hosting a playoff game. The last and only time they did, they lost a thrilling double overtime contest to Fredonia. The Bengals probably feel they have unfinished business on their home ice.
They are playing well lately after faltering since December. They have won three of their last four games, and their last meeting with Morrisville proved they are not to be written off if trailing late in the game.
This is also a great goaltending battle between the senior, Caylin Relkoff, and the freshman, Kevin Carr.
Of course, they could both end up hosting a first round game. Or, perhaps nothing will be settled, and they will face each other again on Wednesday, site to be determined.
I’m going to go with the home team with the senior goaltender.
Thanks to upsets, I had my worst week yet at 3-4, making my overall mark 86-29-9 (.730).
Morrisville hosts Fredonia the next day. The Mustangs seem to have the Blue Devils’ number lately. Plus, I don’t think Morrisville will allow this golden opportunity to slip by. Take Morrisville in the sweep. Though ironically, if this happens, it will be a repeat of last year in the opposite manner.
Last year, Fredonia beat Morrisville in the last game of the season, forcing a rematch in the first round of the playoffs at Fredonia. This year, Morrisville could beat Fredonia in the last game of the season, thus forcing a rematch in the first round of the playoffs at Morrisville. Last year, the road team came back and won the game. Perhaps a bad omen for Morrisville.
The other Friday games, on paper, are mismatches. Thus, I’ll go the easy route — Oswego over Brockport, Geneseo over Cortland, and Plattsburgh over Potsdam.
Saturday is a bit tougher, with a match up at the top of the standings and one at the bottom. Though Brockport beat Geneseo last week, I still like the way Cortland is playing lately, so I’ll take the Red Dragons in this one on their home ice.
Geneseo visits Oswego. Somehow, I don’t think Ed Gosek is going to allow his team to relax this weekend. In a hard fought contest, take the Lakers.