The Golden Eagles return home after two weekends on the road. The upcoming matchups feature two SUNYAC opponents…Plattsburgh and Potsdam. Needless to say, this weekend will go a long ways in showing that Brockport will be a force to reckon with in the conference this year.
It starts off on Friday with a 7:00 game against the Plattsburgh Cardinals, the best team in the SUNYAC and maybe all of DIII. Currently, the USCHO polls have Plattsburgh ranked second, slightly behind St. Norbert, the team they fell to in March’s DIII championship in Lake Placid. I would go as far to say Plattsburgh is the best, because much of St. Nobert’s success last season could be attributed to goaltender Kyle Jones, who has since graduated. Jones was the best DIII player I’ve ever seen. Last year he had a 1.09 GAA and 10 shutouts, including the season-ender against Plattsburgh. Without Jones in the mix, Plattsburgh is the cream of the crop.
Plattsburgh always seems to do everything right. Size, speed, strength…they’ve got it all. Year in, year out they make goal scoring look way too easy. They are at once aggressive and patient, swarming other teams, suffocating them and then finding their weak spot. They skate better and move the puck better than most teams and are as adept at sniping as they are at putting in close-range blasts. Last year they had five guys score 10 or more goals, led by now-sophomore Dylan Clarke and his 21 goals. This year the team scored 6, 5, 4, and 8 goals in their first four games. The first game made a statement…it was a shellacking of perennial DIII powerhouse Elmira.
This season’s leading scorer is senior defenseman Nick Rolls (9 points). Rolls is by far their best player. He’s smart, he skates well, he hits hard and is the best offensive defenseman in the SUNYAC. Last season he racked up 30 points, including 14 goals. Amazing numbers.
The net is guarded well by Bryan Hince. He’s good, not spectacular, maybe the fourth best goalie in SUNYAC. Lacking athleticism he can be beat by chaos in front of the net….that is if their swarming defense allows anyone to get close.
You can’t say enough about how good Plattsburgh is and that is why I’ll predict that Brockport will be on the losing end of a 5-3 match-up. But, the Golden Eagles will put a scare into the Cardinals, keeping it close into the third period.
The Potsdam Bears (Saturday’s opponent) are, on the other hand, quite beatable. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Brockport will win by a score of 4-1. Potsdam came into the season with high expectations (the pollsters had them ranked 21st) based on a great recruiting class.. But, they’ve gone 2-2-1, including an embarrassing 6-3 loss to Buffalo State. Last year they were 10-13-4 and got beat by Brockport twice, something that hadn’t happened in years. Their goalie Miller is just okay, and the defense in front of him can be porous. Their 3 leading scorers have returned from last season…which is not the least bit frightening because not one of them scored more than 8 goals.
Let’s hope the turnout was as good as the home opener!
If you can’t make it to Tuttle, both games can be heard on WBSU 89.1 FM or at www.891thepoint.com