Thursday, October 27, 2011


In this week's Stylus, sports writer Any Lipari looks at the Golden Eagles' season and the first game of it....

Last season was a year in transition for Brockport hockey. They started 0-10-1, but the feeling around the SUNYAC conference was they weren't as bad as their record would indicate. Brockport finished the year 4-18-3 and only had two wins in the SUNYAC conference.

Players and coaches said last year it took the young players a while to get acclimated to Division III hockey. Later in the season, they were pleased with how the rookies were developing.

Following back-to-back seasons with a playoff victory, the hockey program was as successful as it has ever been. Last season's last place finish was seen as a disappointment instead of the norm.

Brockport had a mixed identity last season. They had seniors like Justin Noble, Tom Galiani and Ray Tremblay who were a few of Brockport's top scorers, mixing with the younger players trying to get experience. At times, it looked as if the team couldn't decide whether it should prepare for the future or play for the present and try and keep up the success the team had in previous seasons.

The goalie situation is a prime example of the wavering. Senior Oliver Wren and sophomore Joe Reagan split time between the pipes last season. Wren started the season as the starter, but the games started being split between the two during the second half of the season. Brockport will likely have the same plan for this season as well.

One bright spot for Brockport last year was James Cody, who returns for his senior season. He led the team with 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists). Ian Finnerty also returns for his senior season after leading the team with 17 assists. Senior Adam Shoff will also return this season after a 13-point season a year ago.

Outside of those three, Brockport has a huge drop off of experienced point scorers. If Brockport is to return to the playoffs this year, the sophomore class will need to have a big season. Sophomores Bobby Conner, Mike Baxter, Brendon Rothfuss and Chris Cangro all had significant playing time last year as freshmen and this season will go well as long as they play well.

Defensively, Brockport is old in comparison to the forwards. Senior Gregg Amato and junior Mike Hayward will anchor the defense as they did a year ago. Sophomore Matt DeLuca started all 25 games last season and should continue to be a factor in the back.

Brockport's season started last Saturday, Oct. 22 with a 5-3 loss to Utica College. Brockport started with a 2-0 lead on goals scored by Finnerty and Cody. Utica came back and scored three times in the second period. Finnerty scored his second goal of the game in the third, but the Golden Eagles came up short in the end.Wren got the nod in goal and had 32 saves.

Brockport starts conference play this weekend with home games against Fredonia Friday, Oct. 28 and Buffalo State Saturday, Oct. 29. The puck drops at 7 p.m. in the Tuttle North Ice Arena. Brockport will not have another home game until Dec. 3.