This weekend features the final two home games of the regular season. If all goes well and Brockport holds on to third place, there will be another home game on Tuesday, February 24th. I am really hoping for that. But, for now, this is it. It will be an exciting weekend, too, as powerhouse Oswego and 4th-place Cortland come into town.
It all starts with Friday’s 7:00 match-up with Oswego.
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 of fact, they are ranked ninth in the nation in the USCHO poll. Their record is a stellar 15-5-1.
They do a little bit of everything well. They score an average of 4.5 goals a game and allow only 2.76 a game. That’s the sort of goal differential that makes a great team.
They are led by a stellar senior class (which, come next season is bad for them, but good for Brockport). 7 of their top 9 scorers will graduate this May and they are led by Ryan Ellis and his 26 points. Four guys have 20 or more points. Their leading goal scorer is Mark Lozzi who’s put a dozen pucks into the net.
Earlier this year their most significant weakness was goaltending. Senior Hyk, then the #1, had some rough games, sporting a .889 saves percentage and a 3.39 GAA. Back-up Beckwith was no better. In recent weeks, though, Junior goaltender Potter has taken the #1 spot and he’s been unbreakable. He sports a .929 saves percentage and an awesome 1.79 GAA. He will be tough to beat! He’s definitely the piece to the puzzle that Oswego was missing to get them to the top. Had he started all year, things might be different in the SUNYAC and they’d be in first place, not second.
It’s definitely not the same team Brockport faced earlier in the season. Back then, Oswego was coming off a rough patch and I questioned their high ranking in the polls (2nd or 3rd at the time). Even so, they pounded the Golden Eagles 11-3. But, Brockport, too, is not the same team and has become a force to reckon with since then. Look at how well they handled Plattsburgh last week in their 4-2 loss. Plattsburgh is a little better team than Oswego, so I’ll predict that Brockport continues their style of intimidating the intimidators and the Golden Eagles win by 1 in overtime.
After facing Oswego, Brockport takes on Cortland on Saturday night. After faring well last year at 11-12-3, Cortland is back to its tragic losing ways, going 8-11-2. But…and this is a big but…they are 5-5-2 in the SUNYAC, and therefore are in fourth place with 12 points just behind Brockport’s 14. So, if Brockport loses to Oswego and Cortland beats Geneseo on Friday, Saturday’s game will be another battle of third place teams. You can’t get more dramatic than that!
But, the team is nothing to fear. They may score nearly 4 goals a game, but they’re pushovers as they allow over four goals a game. This would be a perfect game for Dickinson to release the hounds and bury a suspect defense. There’s no reason why Brockport can’t put up 5 against them.
If you can’t make the game, you can catch all the action from the comfort of your home…at least on Saturday when the game can be heard on WBSU. On the air at 89.1 FM or online at http://www.891thepoint.com/ No coverage on Friday.
My wife, Bernadette, is going to Saturday’s game with me, only her second game this season. When she tells her friends and coworkers that she’s going to a college hockey game for Valentine’s Day their jaws drop. That’s why she’s the best wife ever!
You should make it a point to be there, too, this weekend. This is a really special season and you should appreciate it while it while you can. I can’t tell you enough how great of a year this has been. In all my years following the team this is by far the most successful unit, one that grinds it out, makes things happen, and lives on a team-oriented, blue-collar style of play.
And speaking of special things, there is a special event taking place this weekend, too. It’s Saves For a Cure weekend. This year, the Golden Eagles have ordered special jerseys with the Saves For a Cure logo on the front to wear during the two weekend games. A jersey auction has been set up to sell the game-worn jerseys from the games. The auction can be found on-line at:www.brockport.edu/athletics/jersey_auction.php
Saves For a Cure is a great cause, one truly worthy of your support. Goaltender Todd Sheridan, a cancer survivor, started the charity to raise money to help children in the Rochester area better cope with the challenges of undergoing cancer treatments. When Todd speaks of the children he wants to help you can see the genuine emotion and love in his eyes and you know that he really wants to make a difference in the lives of those poor kids as the weather some of the most difficult days of their young lives. It tears you up inside to hear about their struggles, and here’s a guy who’s doing something worthwhile for them. So, give Todd and Saves For a Cure all your support…not only is he a great goaltender, but he’s a great person, too, one who is doing some truly great things for some really special people.