Thursday, January 20, 2011


The Brockport Golden Eagles have been an energized team of late. They are 3-3 in their last 6 games and could easily be 3-2-1 after having been robbed of a potential tie in the Oswego game in December. Over those 6 games the offense has started to click, and the team was outright dominant (Ian Finnerty and James Cody especially) in the recent 2 game series against Western New England College. The defense has improved as well and it may have received a wake-up call with the installation of Joey Reagan as the starting goaltender. He received SUNYAC rookie honors for his efforts against Hobart and WNEC.

The team will have to stay hot in order to make the playoffs. They will have to close out SUNYAC play with 5 wins, maybe 6, in the last 8 conference games. That thrill ride begins this weekend as the team heads to the North, visiting Potsdam on Friday and Plattsburgh on Saturday.

When last they faced one another in October, Potsdam dominated Brockport at Tuttle North, having skated away with a 5-2 win in which they looked exceptional in all facets of the game. Since then, it’s basically been downhill for Potsdam. They now sit on a 4-11-0 record and are 2-6-0 in the conference. Last weekend they pounded South New Hampshire 6-0, but days earlier Castleton buried them 6-2.

Their ability to light the lamp has sputtered. Usually a scary force on the ice, leading scorer and senior Fraser Smith has amassed only 10 points (featuring 7 goals) and he will be hard-pressed to reach his totals of the past 2 seasons (26 and 25 points). Also posting 10 points is freshman Brandon Cuoto, who has been a pleasant surprise for the team.

The team has also been uncharacteristic in taking penalties. They have 5 players with 30 or more PIM.

The inability to score goals and stay out of the penalty box has allowed a deluge of shots on the goalies. Trevor O’Niell – widely perceived as Potsdam’s savior prior to the start of the season - has seen most of the action and posts a .882 save percentage. When he’s on, he’s tough to beat. But, with the flurry of shots he sees, it’s really tough to remain “on”.

Brockport will beat Potsdam and handily at that.

Player to watch: James Cody. He has been a Bear killer in his NCAA career. In 2 playoff games alone against Potsdam he has 4 goals.

Saturday’s match-up is against the Plattsburgh Cardinals. If there is a year that Brockport can beat the Cardinals this is it. Once thought unstoppable, they have weakened a little. But, they are so damn good that their bad (11-4-1) is still awesome.

They are an unexpected 4-4-0 in SUNYAC play. One of their wins was a 7-3 drubbing of Brockport when they buried Oliver Wren under 56 shots, applying constant pressure in the Brockport zone…so much so that Brockport put only 22 shots on goal.

Their 2 best players are seniors Dylan Clark (11-11-22) and Eric Satim (8-12-20), the latter being a speedster who is fun to watch. The rest of the roster is solid in the puck control department and 5 other players have 10 or more points.

If they have a weakness, it’s goaltending. Once again, it’s not really a weakness. Any team would love Josh Leis’s .910 saves percentage, but it’s not as gaudy as their netminders of years past. If he’s out of the game, Ryan Williams is next in line. He has seen 145 minutes of play and has only a .833 save percentage. \

But note, their numbers and the team’s victories are skewed low because of early season struggles. The Cardinals have not lost since November 19th (10 games) and only twice in that stretch have they allowed more than 2 goals.

Brockport has their work cut out for them. As hot as Brockport is, Plattsburgh is hotter. I don’t see a repeat of the 7-3 affair, but a 4-2 Plattsburgh win is probable.

Plattsburgh will be emotionally motivated to destroy Brockport, too. There will be a pre-game ceremony honoring the 2001 national champs and the life of Mike Dauost, who lost his battle with cancer over the Summer. The Cardinals will be wearing – and auctioning off – special jerseys in his honor.

Player to watch: Tom Galiani. Plattsburgh is swarming and can only be beat with exceptional speed, which Tom possesses. If the game plan is to allow him to skate freely, he can be the difference maker in this game.

Both games can be heard on and watched at