Brockport advances to SUNYAC semifinals with win over Geneseo

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GENESEO, N.Y. — In the long history of hockey at Geneseo and Brockport and the rivalry between them, these two Rochester-area schools never met in the playoffs.

Until now.

Brockport, the final team in the SUNYAC playoffs, claimed the postseason bragging rights over third-seed Geneseo, 6-4, in the quarterfinal round Wednesday night.

The Golden Eagles had to withstand a ferocious third period comeback attempt by Geneseo, a six-on-four Ice Knights advantage in the waning minutes, and being outshot by a whopping 63-23 margin.

Aaron Green made 59 saves, 21 in the third period. Brockport won its 13th game in a row when scoring five or more goals.

“Aaron Green, what can you say,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “He gave us a chance to get our feet wet. We got some opportunistic opportunities. We finally found a way to solve Nick [Horrigan]. It was nice to get some early, give us confidence, and then at the end of the game just grinding it out.”

“I think they were very opportunistic,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “The chances they did get were very good chances. We exposed ourselves defensively.”

Brockport jumped out to a 2-0 lead halfway through the opening period. Jonathan Demme fed Chase Nieuwendyk on a breakaway. Nieuwendyk cut to the right and then put it back the other way through the five-hole.

The Golden Eagles’ second goal was scored when Dylan Shapiro pushed in a rebound from near the post.

Geneseo scored late in the period when Justin Scharfe jammed it in at the doorstep. The crowd finally got back into the game with the momentum swing, which lasted all of 15 seconds.

Chris Luker got Brockport’s two-goal lead back with a shot from the top of the circle.

“It didn’t allow our guys to get down at all,” Dickinson said. “Before we could even say anything negative, it’s back in the net and guys are cheering again. For our psyche, it was huge.”

“The follow ups we had after we scored were pretty pathetic,” Schultz said. “They fought adversity very, very well tonight. When we did get some momentum and score goals, their next shift was always better than ours.”

Another breakaway at 6:45 of the second period extended Brockport’s lead to 4-1. Troy Polino faked both ways then shot it glove side.

Midway through the period, Geneseo once again tried to get back in the game. Sotiris Anthanasopoulos fired a rebound from the right slot into the opposite side.

This time, the momentum lasted just over three minutes until Shapiro banged it home from the top of the crease to end the period at 5-2.

Geneseo came out strong in the third period, applying a lot of pressure, including hitting the post.

It finally paid off at 5:05 with an A.J. Sgaraglio blast to cut the lead to 5-3.

When once again it looked like Brockport was going to steal the momentum back with a power play at the 13:16 mark, Geneseo struck instead.

On what appeared to be a simple clear, Green went behind the net to pass it around to his defender. However, the goalie whiffed on the pass, the loose puck was scooped up by Ryan Stanimir, and he wrapped it around the open net to narrow the score to 5-4 with 5:19 left.

“I thought we were going to win at that point,” Schultz said. “I thought there was a pretty good chance of us scoring a fifth and getting to overtime.”

“You look at the clock to see how much time is left, and you just know they are going to keep coming,” Dickinson said.

A late Brockport penalty taken while trying to slow down a Geneseo breakaway gave the Ice Knights a final opportunity.

Geneseo pulled its goalie with about 1:42 left in the game for a six-on-four advantage. When the penalty expired, Geneseo continued with the extra attacker.

Brockport (13-11-2) carried the puck out of the zone once and it resulted in a Jeremy DeFazio empty-net goal with 48 seconds left.

Geneseo, which reached the national semifinals last year, ended a disappointing season at 12-10-4.

Brockport’s season continues as the squad now travels to Plattsburgh Saturday night for the SUNYAC semifinals.

“The guys are excited,” Dickinson said. “I went in there and told them we’re practicing tomorrow. We’re excited to go up there.”

In the other quarterfinal game, the road team also won as Buffalo State beat Potsdam, 6-2. The Bengals play at Oswego Saturday night.