The season started off in spectacular fashion. The Golden Eagles bested Lebanon Valley, lost by one goal to DIII powerhouse Hobart, buried Morrisville, and then shocked Geneseo in the Ice Knights’ barn. Brockport looked like a force to reckon with in the SUNYAC.
Things changed in a hurry.
The Golden Eagles lost as expected to Plattsburgh and Oswego (though they were beaten more badly than anyone would have guessed), tied Postdam at home (anything less than a win was disappointing), and got it handed to them by Cortland, a team they were supposed to beat handily.
That significant change in fortune makes this weekend’s games must-win (and must-see) hockey.
The Golden Eagles control their own destiny this weekend, playing host to Fredonia (Friday) and Buffalo State (Saturday). The three losses and the tie have put the 2-3-1 (SUNYAC play) Golden Eagles into a tie for 6th place in the SUNYAC with Cortland and Fredonia. Just ahead of them are Potsdam at 2-2-2 and Buff State at 3-2-1.
If they win both games (or win one, tie one), Brockport can theoretically take fifth place (if not fourth) because Potsdam has no chance against Oswego this weekend and Buff State has a good chance of losing against Geneseo on Friday. If they win one, the Golden Eagles will probably gain total control of sixth place. If they lose both games Brockport will be on the outside looking in.
So, this weekend determines what the second semester will look like. Will the second half of the season be the Golden Eagle fighting to keep a playoff spot….or will it be a repeat of the past few years, the Golden Eagles fighting to get a playoff spot? The latter, as players and long-time fans will tell you, can make for a nerve-wracking albeit exciting end to the season.
Friday’s opponent is the most-beatable of the two. Fredonia has gotten some “gimmee” wins and lost to the likes of Cortland and Potsdam. In the game of the year they tied regional rival Buffalo State 6-6. Fredonia is not as strong as last year. Gone are the likes of Neal Shannon and the physical Steve Albert. Taking their places are junior Jeff Aonso (10 points) and James Muscatello, who plays like Mike Gershon….the defenseman has 7 goals on the season, one more than Mike.
Fredonia’s strength is its goaltending. Pat Street is one of the more athletic goaltenders in the SUNYAC and this match-up might prove who has the conference’s bragging rights for #1 goalie: Street or Todd Sheridan. Streets numbers are very similar to Todd’s: .922 save percentage vs. .925 for Todd. Last year, Street stopped a remarkable .927% of the shots he faced on the season.
If you like great goaltending, this is the game to watch.
Saturday is a different story. If you like goals the Buff State match-up is your type of game. The Bengals have surprised me this year by scoring goals in bunches, something they’ve never really been known for. Four times they’ve scored six or more goals this season and they beat Hobart’s sound “D” 4-0.
The team is very balanced in the firepower department. A total of seven guys on the team have scored 4 or more goals, their offense led by Petriello’s 7 goals and 19 points (already!) and assist-king Jason Hill (15 apples on the season). Their focus on moving the puck has allowed the Bengals to disregard their defense, but Zach Grasley has proven to be up to the task (.903%).
For the average fan, this will be the most exciting game, an old-fashioned shootout!
I’ll hazard a guess that Brockport will beat Fredonia and lose to Buffalo State by two.
Friday’s game won’t be aired on the Point…unfortunately, basketball takes precedence. But, the Saturday game will receive coverage at 89.1 FM and online at http://www.891thepoint.com/
See ya at Tuttle!