Brockport hits the road this weekend for two SUNYAC games, a Friday match at Oswego and a Saturday affair against Cortland (both games start at 7:00).
Over the past 16 years of watching SUNYAC hockey I’ve always had respect for Oswego. Year in, year out they remain the best or second best team in the conference, consistently putting together great teams who play a physical brand of hockey and score goals in bunches.
Oswego is right there near the top again this year. As a matter, they are ranked third in the nation.
That national ranking may be a little bloated if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong…they are awesome, definitely #2 in SUNYAC, averaging over 5 and half goals per game, but they have a glaring weakness that will dash their hopes for the NCAA playoffs. Their focus on moving the puck leaves them open to being scored on and that’s happened plenty this year, at a clip of almost 3 goals a game.
You can gamble on offensive play if you’ve got a great goaltender, which Oswego does not. Both of their netmen are average…Hyk’s save percentage is .898 and Beckwith’s is .875…and that’s with “padding the stats” by facing low-scoring teams like Buffalo State and Lebanon Valley.
This weakness was made obvious last week when Morrisville tied Oswego 5-5…in Oswego’s barn, no less! No one would have expected it, nearly everyone assuming it would have been a cakewalk for Oswego. But, Morrisville brought the same heat they bought against Brockport to Oswego and the Lake Men couldn’t handle it.
That came but one week after Oswego needed overtime to beat Buffalo State. So, needless to say, their usually-supreme confidence is a little shaky lately.
Two things can come of that. One, Brockport can feast on Oswego’s damaged psyches and focus on their weakness, doing as Morrisville did, bringing the traffic to the net. Or, two, Oswego will be as enraged as a hurt animal and they’ll come to the game focused and prepared as all get out in an effort to get past last week’s nightmare.
I’ll go with a little bit of both. My prediction: the game will go into overtime, eventually ending as 4-3 Oswego victory.
After facing Oswego, Brockport couldn’t get a better boost than taking on Cortland. After faring well last year at 11-12-3, Cortland is back to its tragic losing ways. This year the Red Dragon stand 3-5 and in their 3 worst games they allowed 10 (Buffalo State), 8 (Hobart), and 6 (Oswego) goals. Their bright spot was a season-opening 5-2 win against Fredonia.
The team is nothing to fear. Their top player is Gold, who scored 13 goals last year. He is joined by a couple of point-a-game guys this year…Palmisano and Haney. Beyond those three the team can be manhandled.
Their goaltending is a wreck, too. The same team that brought us one of DIII’s all-time characters - Ben Binga - continues to man the crease with suspect athletes. #1 goaltender Jewell sports an .855 saves percentage and 5.25 GAA. The kid tries, but he’s just not agile enough.
This would be a perfect game for Dickinson to experiment and release the hounds. I think it will pay off with a 6-1 Brockport victory.
If you aren’t travelling to either game, you can catch all the action from the comfort of your home. Both games can be heard on WBSU. On the air at 89.1 FM or online at www.891thepoint.com