On the night of Tuesday, October 17, 2000, the College at Brockport played one of its most exciting games in team history, an exhibition game against Humber College out of Toronto, Ontario. The sparse crowd of only 250 fans (I was one of them) saw a game of epic proportions. It was high-scoring affair eventually won by Brockport 9-7 thanks to a 6-goal flurry in the second. Amidst all that goal scoring was physical hockey like you’ve never seen. There were 29 penalties in the match-up, including three 10-minute misconducts and a game disqualification. In total the teams accounted for 96 minutes of penalties. I will always remember what happened after the game: During the post-game handshake a Brockport player had his helmet off and was innocently shaking hands when all of a sudden a Humber player blasted the unprotected and unsuspecting soul right in the nose, instantly bloodying his face.
You don’t see games like that too often….and you definitely don’t see a single player’s performance as we did that night very often.
Brockport’s Nick Smyth had the greatest game ever by a Brockport hockey player. In his first game for the Golden Eagles he scored a school-record 5 goals. An impressive total no doubt. What makes it even more extraordinary is that he accomplished the same feat that Oswego’s Neil Musselwhite did against Brockport last week, scoring a natural shorthanded hat trick!! How's that for a debut!
NCAA purists will say that Musselwhite’s was the first in NCAA DIII history being that it was a true NCAA game pitting two NCAA colleges against one another while the Brockport/Humber game was a US/Canada event featuring only one NCAA school. But, that’s semantics. Smyth’s was the first by a player at the DIII level of US collegiate hockey and he should be recognized for it.
Nick Smyth, #26, graduated in 2003 and over 75 games for Brockport he amassed 59 points on 31 goals and 28 assists. A solid career on the ice and an entertaining one to watch from the stands.
With Musselwhite’s goals being the buzz of DIII hockey this week I thought we should counter that and catch up with Nick to see what he’s been up to and to reflect on his time at Brockport….
Bob: In the game against Humber you had the hot hand. You had 5 goals on the night but the most amazing thing was you had a natural short-handed hat trick. Walk us through that stellar performance...
Nick: It was my first game at Brockport which made it even more memorable. I was just happy to get the first goal out of the way. I don’t even think I realized that the first 3 goals were a natural short-handed hat trick until Coach Evans brought it up at practice the next day. It was honestly one of those nights that you feel like you can’t do anything wrong and the puck just follows you around. It was a great way to start off the season for the team and hopefully I built respect with my teammates and coaches at the same time.
Bob: What other Brockport hockey moments do you cherish?
Nick: My most cherished moments were in my senior year when we made a late push for the final play-off spot. Unfortunately, we tied for that last spot and lost out to Cortland on Goals Against. Those final games were absolutely awesome especially beating a nationally ranked Oswego in their old barn.
Bob: What impact did the academic experience at Brockport have on your life?
Nick: Brockport was just an all around great experience. I was able to go to school to study what I wanted (Business) and was fortunate enough to be able to do what I love most by continuing to play hockey. Not to mention I made some great friends along the way.
Bob: What have you been up to since graduating?
Nick: After Brockport, I tried to continue playing hockey. I was drafted by the Miami Manatees of the WHA2. I played in one pre-season game before deciding to hang up the competitive skates. I now call the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL home. This is where I met my wife of the past 3 years, Melanie. I currently work in Risk Management as an Account Executive at GE Commercial Distribution Finance. Today I am still playing hockey in a Men’s League at the Fox Valley Ice Arena as well as coaching Mite hockey out of the Leaf Centre in Dundee, IL.