The Golden Eagles had a good showing in conference play last weekend when, on the road, they beat Buffalo State 4-2 and dropped a 1-0 nailbiter against Fredonia.
The real test comes tonight when Brockport hosts the Oswego Lakers. Oswego has started this season 2-0, and comes off a 24-4-2 season. The powerhouse is ranked second in the nation in the USCHO DIII poll and went to the DIII title game last year.
There’s a reason they’ve won the SUNYAC crown 3 years running: They do everything well.
It starts at the backend where Andrew Hare minds the net. He had a .931 save percentage and 1.75 goals against average last year. He’s consistently great and relatively unflappable: After 2 games this year, his save percentage is identical to last year’s.
They have 9 men returning who posted 20 or more points last season (among them 2 defenseman, which shows how potent the Lakers are offensively). They are led by Jon Whitelaw, who, had it not been for Brockport’s James Cody, would have been the SUNYAC MVP last season after sporting a 19-22-41 line. He’s joined by great talents in Paul Rodrigues (14-23-37) and Luke Moodie, Sr., F (14-20-34). Moodie already has 3 goals and 5 assists after 2 games while Rodrigues has lit the lamp 4 times.
Last year, Brockport fell to the Lakers by scores of 7-1 and 6-4. It would be considered a huge upset (akin to last year’s victory against Plattsburgh) were Brockport to be victorious tonight.
Saturday’s game will be a little more competitive as Cortland graces Tuttle North Ice Arena. With 2 games under their belt this season (both losses) they will be hungry for a win. Whether they can get that is a different story: they finished last in the conference last season and were picked to be there again this season. They were 6-18-1 last season and had only 3 players with more than 15 points, capped off by Adam Bevilacqua’s 7-15-22 line. He returns for his senior year and is joined by Michael Lysyj and AJ Moyer who each have 2 goals on the young season. A player to watch is senior Chris Kaleta (the brother of the Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta) who has always been a thorn in Brockport’s side. He has 2 goals this season after netting 5 last year. Their #1 goalie will likely be Mike Reilly, who claimed a 4.64 goals-against average and .873 save percentage last year.
It will be an easier game for Brockport, but still, as with all SUNYAC games, it will be hard fought. A team like Cortland cannot be taken for granted. Brockport has to win a game like Saturday’s in order to keep pace in the SUNYAC, especially with a schedule that is light on conference home games in the second semester. If they let a lead against Cortland slip through their hands it will be looked at a lost opportunity come February…that’s how important all SUNYAC games are.
Both games start at 7:00. See you at Tuttle North!