After a long bus ride home following a hard-fought 1-1 tie with ECAC Northeast power Nichols Wednesday night, you might expect Suffolk senior Tim Benedetto to jump at the chance to take a day off.
Nah. Don’t need one, don’t want one.
That pretty much summed up the response after Rams’ coach Chris Glionna stepped off the team bus at 1 a.m. Thursday morning and offered Benedetto the chance to sit out that day’s practice.
“The nice thing about Tim,” said Glionna, “is that he doesn’t ever take anything for granted. We played a really hard game [at Nichols], and I told him, ‘If you want to take Thursday off, I’m okay with that. He kind of gave me this look that said, ‘What are you talking about. I’ll be there.'”
Just like he always is, so it seems.
“One day this week I walked in the rink, and there he was,” Glionna said. “The only guy on the ice. He had a bunch of pucks out there, and he was shooting. That tells you a lot about him.”
Benedetto is not much of a point producer, with just eight goals and nine assists in four seasons. But he seems to get them when it counts.
His one tally this year gave the Rams a 2-1 overtime win over Johnson and Wales, and earned him ECACNE player of the week laurels.
“He’s a super character kid,” said Glionna. “He does it all for us. Blocks shots. He’s not the greatest skater, and he doesn’t shoot the puck as hard as other guys. (But) he just never stops working. He wants to win, super bad. He’s just a heart and soul guy.”
One of many among the Rams, it seems.
Suffolk (4-0-1, 3-0-1) is off to its best start in years, is tied with Nichols for first place, and has all the makings of being a serious contender in the North East.
And notice this. Each of the Rams wins have come by one goal (with an empty netter against Western New England thrown in), a sure sign of a poised team that can flourish in tight spots.
“What we tell these guys,” said Glionna, “is just ‘work, work, work.’ They know no other way.
“We’re not super fast, and we’re not super big. We may not have the skill players like Nichols or Salve [Regina] have, but we know how to work.”
Let it snow
The massive lake effect snow storm (if you want to consider a 70-inch dumping to be massive) that engulfed Buffalo (home base for your faithful correspondent) and Western New York environs this week, may or may not intrude upon the weekend’s local Division III schedule.
It so happens that the two SUNYAC schools that sit along Lake Erie – Buffalo State and Fredonia – play each other on Friday. Make that, scheduled to play each other on Friday.
As for now, the game to be played at Fredonia’s Steele Hall is still a “go.”
That would likely change as the New York State Thruway – which served as the unhappy parking spot for the Niagara women’s basketball team for 30 hours – remains closed for a fourth consecutive day.
Meanwhile, the only game being played by either team is the waiting game.
“All is well here in Buffalo,” said Buff State coach Nick Carriere. “We had to cancel practice [Wednesday], but we are a go for [Thursday] for the guys that can make it. We will have to see if the Thruway is opened tomorrow.”
Said Fredonia bench boss Jeff Meredith, “We are dealing with the storm. School was canceled, but we have practiced each day. Game is on Friday. Stay tuned.”
Jay flying high for Westfield State
After going pointless in his first three encounters, Westfield State junior Dalton Jay erupted for five points in last weekend’s tilts (both wins) with Framingham St. and Salem State.
Jay’s three goal hattie against Salem helped Westfield bury the defending MASCAC champs, 6-1.
It was Jay’s second career hat trick.
“Dalton is able to contribute to our team in many ways because of his speed and skill,” said Owls’ coach Bob Miele. “He has logged a lot of minutes for us since he has been here. We are excited he is off to a good start and he will work hard to keep producing.”
Curley manning Neumann crease
Replacing a top-flight goalie is not always an easy task.
Sitting behind one isn’t any easier.
Thus, Neumann’s Ben Curley moves into the Knights’ net vacated by graduate Braely Torris with no drop off in crease quality.
Curley, a senior, has backstopped Neumann to three wins in their first four starts, including a 3-0 shutout of Manhattanville.
“Ben has taken full advantage of the opportunity he earned this year,” said Knights’ coach Dominick Dawes. “He is a competitor, he wants to be in the net. Even when he was not [playing], he has consistently been one of our hardest workers. The guys trust him and respect what he brings to the ice every day. He played well both nights last week, our guys trust that he will come up big when we need him, he gives us a chance to win every time we take the ice.”