Over the years I’ve seen 17 Senior Nights on campus, 17 groups of men who have said “good bye” to Brockport hockey and probably organized hockey as a whole. It’s always a bittersweet evening as the team, the fans and the parents see the last minutes of players who gave everyone 4 years of hockey memories. This year’s seniors are Jason Gorrie, Alan Liwush, Sean O’Malley, Todd Sheridan and Ryan Silveira, all who have had solid college hockey careers and their collection of personal shining moments.
The seniors could not have asked for a more entertaining conclusion to the regular season. Brockport and Cortland exchanged shots on goal and body all night long in a wild game that saw the Golden Eagles claim a 4-2 victory.
Cortland showed an interesting style of play to start the game, putting their biggest and slowest (yet strongest) players on ice for a good portion of the first in an attempt to push Brockport around. Bruisers like Mike Lysyj (6’4”), Chris Kaleta (6’2”), and Erik Nordqvist (6’4”) were unleashed on the team and Brockport returned the favor by bringing the hits right to them. It seemed to shock them as Cortland quickly abandoned all-out goon play and focused on a mix of skill and hitting to put 35 shots on goal over the game. Brockport was up to the task as well, peppering the Cortland goal with 39 shots.
Todd Sheridan manned the net for the first period, making 16 saves in total, and was pulled in an effort to rest and protect him for the playoffs. Oliver Wren took over and turned away 17 of 19 shots in the final two stanzas. The very first shot he faced took an exceptional save using the shaft of his stick to knock away a potential goal.
Brockport’s star of the game was Sean O’Malley who for the second night in a row had a 2-goal game. It should be noted he was only 4 inches from a hat trick, having taken a shot at the empty net in the final minute from the opposing corner…a long shot that was oh, so close. Both of his goals were the result of him muscling his way to the net. On the first one, while standing just outside the crease he collected a Liwush shot on goal to put it under Dan Jewel’s leg pads. On the second he forced himself to the net and flipped the puck over Jewel’s pads.
He paid the price for the second goal. Within a few seconds of the post-goal face-off, Lysyj absolutely leveled O’Malley by the boards with a cheap shot to the head. That began a minor fracas between the two teams which saw Justin Noble and Cortland’s Corey John tangle, both getting penalties. With two in the box for Cortland and one for Brockport that left Cortland one man down but Chris Kaleta (brother of the Buffalo Sabres Patrick Kaleta) got the short-handed goal.
Those were the last scores of the game for both teams as the third went scoreless. It was a fun period nonetheless with plenty of hits.
There were a lot of impressive shots on goal by the Golden Eagles throughout the game, and Jewel had to play out of his mind after allowing two goals in the first seven minutes of the game. James Cody had 6 quality shots turned away and Nick Panepinto had an exceptional hustling play at 13 minutes of the second which I had been hoping would have given him his first collegiate goal. It was nice to see Mike Hayward net the first goal of his stellar rookie season (one which has seen the defenseman have 13 assists) with a hard wrist shot from the face-off circle.
All in all, a really entertaining game.
Here’s what the Brockport Athletics Department had to say about it…
Senior Sean O’Malley (Lakewood, OH) scored two goals for the second consecutive night to lead The College at Brockport Ice Hockey team to a 4-2 victory over visiting SUNY Cortland Saturday night at the Tuttle North Ice Arena.
Brockport scored twice within two minutes at 5:01 and 6:51 of the first period for the early 2-0 lead. Junior Chris Berardini (Batavia, NY) netted his second goal of the season with assists credited to Jason Gorrie (Etobicoke, ONT) and Adam Shoff (Port Dover, ONT). Gorrie teamed up with Ian Finnerty (Ardmore, PA) on the power play and found Mike Hayward (Toronto, ONT) for the open shot.
O’Malley scored his first goal of the night at 6:15 of the second period to give Brockport the 3-0 lead. Cortland got on the scoreboard at 12:59 of the second but less than three minutes later O’Malley found the back of the goal again giving Brockport the three goal lead. The Red Dragons cut the deficit to two goals at 16:29 in the second on a short handed goal but the Golden Eagle defense held strong in the third period and limited Cortland to just six shots.
Todd Sheridan (Edison, NJ) made 16 saves in the first period before Oliver Wren (Oakville, ONT) minded the net in the second and third periods and made 17 saves.
Brockport earns the number four seed in the State University of New York Athletic Conference and will host No. 5 Potsdam in the first round on Tuesday, February 23. The two teams faced off last year in the first round game at Brockport with the Golden Eagles coming out on top with a 3-1 victory.