The Golden Eagles play their annual Western New York series this weekend traveling to Buffalo State on Friday and Fredonia on Saturday.
The Bengals are in the midst of 6-13-1 season (2-9 in the SUNYAC) that took a turn for the worse as the college’s athletics department became a laughingstock in DIII when last week the NCAA disciplined them for financial aid violations. It’s unfortunate that the kids - especially the 8 seniors - had to go through that bad press. The stress will no doubt further erode their psyche and I wouldn’t be surprised if the game is more sloppily played than the recent ones that saw the Bengals lose 4 of their last 5.
It will probably be a game similar to November’s match-up in which the Bengals managed only two goals and were single-handedly beaten by Ryan Silveira who had a hat trick. Buffalo State has been porous as in years past (they are at 4.50 goals/game, 61st in the nation) but they have been unable to overcome that by producing goals in bunches as they have been known to do. This year they have scored just over 3 goals a game. Junior Nick Petriello – he of 45 points last season – has 23 points (including 12 goals) and D’Arcy Thomas has 19 points, but other than those two the offense is relatively tame as no other player has more than 5 goals. As for special teams, they are 41st in the power play and 62nd in the penalty kill. They are the 15th most-penalized team in the nation, which is not a good combination with such a penalty kill.
Brockport should beat them and beat them badly.
Saturday won’t be so easy. Fredonia is 15-5-0 and, boy, can they score! Far exceeding preseason estimations, they rank fifth in DIII with 4.90 goals a game, just .40 behind powerhouse Oswego. They have seven (!) players with more than 20 points, led by Alex Morton’s 28. They have 5 players who have scored a double-digit number of goals, led by Bryan Ross’s 14. Jordan Oye and Matt Hehr each have 13. In comparison, James Cody and Tom Galiani lead Brockport with 9 goals each.
Their freewheeling ways are allowed because they are backed up by some solid goaltending. One of my favorite goalies in DIII, Pat Street, doesn’t look like the Street of old (he has an .895 save percentage) so most of the workload of this semester has fallen upon Kody Van Rentergem who sports a great .913. No matter who Brockport faces it will be tough, because when Street is on, he’s on. It would be nice if Street got the start on Saturday so the senior could face off against Todd Sheridan one last time. Their match-ups have always been entertaining.
Fredonia is a scary team and the Golden Eagles will have their hands full.
Both games start at 7:00 and can be heard at www.891thepoint.com and watched at www.fasthockey.com