Andrew Lipari, who covers the Golden Eagles ice hockey team for the Brockport Stylus, wrote yet another fine article for this week's edition, looking at the future of the team...
Hockey has big hole to fill behind net
Head coach Brian Dickinson said after their playoff loss to Plattsburgh, it was the hardest post-game speech he ever gave at Brockport, after a playoff loss to Plattsburgh.
This senior class has proved to be a special group of players for the school and the hockey team. Led by goaltender Todd Sheridan and forward Sean O'Malley, the Golden Eagles made their first playoff appearance in school history last season. They followed that up with another trip to the playoffs this year.
Sheridan might be the most important player in Brockport's hockey team history. He is third in all-time saves, and seems to have every other goaltending record, including shutouts. The record-breaker came in their playoff win against Potsdam this season.
But, his greater contribution comes off the ice with the Saves For A Cure foundation. Sheridan set up to give kids going through cancer treatment a home environment. This year alone, the hockey team raised more than $3,400.
O'Malley's scoring and leadership will be missed by this hockey team. He leaves Brockport with 32 goals and 38 assists in his career. This season, O'Malley scored 11 times, and 19 points overall.
Brockport is also losing forwards Jason Gorrie and Ryan Silveira, along with defenseman Alan Liwush, who all contributed to the recent success of the team.
In both Brockport's playoff seasons, Plattsburgh sent them home in the semi-finals in the SUNYAC tournamnt. They ended up improving by two goals this year, losing 7-2 last year and 5-2 this year.
Now that they've had the taste of playoffs, success will hopefully follow in the following years.
Looking ahead to next season, Brockport has some pieces to the puzzle already in place.
Despite losing O'Malley, Brockport is returning seven of their top eight scores from this season, including leading scorer James Cody who is going into his junior year. Forwards Justin Noble, Ray Tremblay, Ian Finnerty and Tom Galiani are also returning next season.
On defense, Gregg Amato and Mike Hayward were Brockport's top scoring defensemen this season, and have multiple years left in their careers.
The biggest question for next year is how Oliver Wren will do replacing Sheridan in goal. Losing Sheridan will be the greatest loss to any team in the SUNYAC conference.
Wren played in five games this year, mostly coming in non-conference games. He posted a 3-1 record with a .919 save percentage. This team will go as far as he takes them next season, filling the shoes of the All-SUNYAC goaltender.
Next season isn't going to get any easier to climb up in the standings. Most of the top scorers in the conference will return for another season, or more in some cases.
Oswego will have most of its SUNYAC championship team back, but is losing their top goaltender Kyle Gunn-Taylor. Plattsburgh is bringing back their top scorers and will have a goalie with experience in college hockey.
Fredonia finished third in the conference and will have all their top scorers back next season.
One positive for Brockport is SUNY Geneseo and Buffalo State will be on probation next year again and will be ineligible from the postseason.
Brockport will want to improve next season on two straight fourth place seasons, but the task will not be easy for the Golden Eagles.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Geneseo and Buffalo State ARE eligible for postseason play in the 2010-2011 season.