This season, the adage “senior leadership” is proving to be quite true. While sophomores and juniors are dominating the goaltending ranks, it is seniors that control the top of the scoring stats.
At the very top of not just the conference stats, but the national stats, is Sy Nutkevitch of Potsdam. The Montreal native leads the nation in points (25), assists (19), and points per game (2.08). In his career, the Bears captain has 88 points in 85 games, including 65 assists.
To say Nutkevitch is taking it to a different level in his final year is an understatement. After 12 games, he has already gotten more points and more assists than any other single season, and is just one goal behind his best, which came in his freshman year.
“He’s the captain for a reason,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said after the win against Buffalo State, where Nutkevitch was clearly the best player on the ice. “Every challenge I laid out for Sy Nutkevitch, he’s answered. We need him to play those types of games in order for us to have success. He’s probably at the top of the list of guys that are the most thrill to see.”
Nutkevitch isn’t letting up. Against Skidmore on New Year’s Day, he registered his fourth four-point game of the season.
Speaking of best players on the ice, there are times Fredonia’s Bryan Ross is just that. Tied for second in conference points (14) and goals (6), Ross is making a strong statement for an All SUNYAC First Team spot this year. He had a monster game against Potsdam, scoring three goals and getting three assists.
“He’s one of our captains,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said after that game. “For guy like that, we need him doing those things.”
Unlike Nutkevitch, Ross has been a consistent scoring leader, with his junior year (15-31-46) so far being his best. Overall, Ross is 49-70-119 in 90 games.
Todd Hosmer had gotten a second chance with Morrisville for his final season. So far, he is coming through, leading in conference goals with nine. Overall, he has 11 goals in 12 games.
His sophomore season at Potsdam (16-15-31) was his best, but discipline problems saw him benched at times in his junior year, playing in only 16 games and scoring just three times. Thus, a change of scenery was in the making.
However, maintaining composure is still an issue for a player with one of the hardest shots in the league, as he has committed the second most penalties (11 for 30 minutes) on his team.
Like Nutkevitch, Brockport’s Ian Finnerty is making the most of his senior season, raising his game to another level. He has already topped his season’s best in goals with eight and is just three behind in his best season for assists. The special teams master (11 of his 23 career goals are on the power play) has two short-handed scores this year.
He got his second career hat trick against Morrisville, and then scored twice more a week later versus Elmira to end the first semester.
“Finnerty was ready to play tonight,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said after the Morrisville game. “He had a monster game.”
Nutkevitch, Ross, Hosmer, and Finnerty are all reasons why coaches constantly rely on their seniors to produce.
SUNYAC Players of the Week (selected by the conference)
Player of the Week: Sy Nutkevitch, Sr., Potsdam. Recorded an assist in a tie with Southern Maine and scored a goal and added three more assists in a draw with Skidmore College at the Middlebury Holiday Classic. Nutkevitch’s performance earned him a spot on the All-Tournament team. The Bears’ captain continues to lead the nation in scoring with 2.08 points-per-game (6-19-25 in 12 games).
Rookie of the Week: Alex Jenson, Plattsburgh. Tallied a goal and an assist in Plattsburgh’s 5-0 shutout of Babson in the first round of the Cardinal Classic. Jensen led the team with eight shots on goal in the championship game against Castleton, which the Cardinals won 2-1. The freshman forward was named to the Cardinal Classic All-Tournament Team.
Goalie of the Week: Mathieu Cadieux, So., Plattsburgh. Gave the Cardinals back-to-back solid outings as Plattsburgh completed a 2-0 weekend to win the Cardinal Classic Championship. On Friday, Cadieux stopped all 20 shots he faced through the first two periods in a combined 5-0 shutout over Babson. In the championship game against Castleton, Cadieux turned away 20 of 21 shots to help Plattsburgh top the Spartans 2-1.