One can only imagine that it was an emotional roller-coaster for the Golden Eagles this past weekend. After getting drubbed by the Oswego Lakers 5-1 on Friday night, there certainly had to be some weary minds on the bench and in the locker room Saturday when a beatable Cortland team built up what seemed to be an insurmountable 3-1 lead early in the game. In the backs of their minds, some of the Eagles had to see the season slipping away and thoughts of the playoffs being set aside for another day, another season.
But, sometimes the heart trumps the mind.
The Golden Eagles as a team re-committed themselves and came out of the first intermission guns a’blazin’. In a weekend that was like much like this season – stunning lows and equally stunning highs – the Golden Eagles proved triumphant, besting Cortland 6-4 and, in a development that seemed so impossible 40 minutes earlier, skated away with possession of fourth place in the conference, which, had the season ended Saturday would have had Brockport hosting a home playoff game.
Like I said earlier this season….don’t count out this freshman-heavy team! Sure, they may have some difficulty finding the back of the net (they’ve been shut out 4 times), but they play smart hockey that keeps games close. Give them time to mature (a maturity they showed this past weekend) and they’ll make things – good things – happen!
If you look at the schedule, there’s no reason why Brockport shouldn’t keep fourth place – Morrisville and Potsdam are winnable games. Plattsburgh? Not so much. But, the Golden Eagles did it last year, so why shouldn’t it be achievable again now that they’ve gotten the monkey off their back?
All of this makes this Friday’s game against the College’s biggest rival AT the College’s biggest rival – Geneseo – even more exciting. In order to guarantee fourth place they have to beat Geneseo, which has become a behemoth at 13-6-2 and a stunning 9-2-1 in conference play.
Geneseo can really pour on the goals and they do so by spreading the wealth. The leader in goals is Corbin Rosmarin with 10 lamplighters, but oddly enough, he’s sixth on the team in points! Jack Cardonna leads with a 2-18-20 line while the talented Zach Vit sports a 5-14-19 stat line. Cardonna is defensemen, no less, so you’re likely looking at a first-team SUNYAC selection. They have in total 11 guys with 10 or more points. Impressive.
Equally impressive is their stable of goaltenders. Senior Adrian Rubeniuk has a killer .908 saves percentage. Sophomore Bryan Haude has been pressing him of late with a great .922 percentage.
Brockport can counter with their own netminder(s). Coach Dickinson is the (un)enviable position of choosing from 2 great goalies himself. Jared Lockhurst has come down to Earth after his out-of-this world start that saw a sustained .940. Even so, he’s at .919, which would set a Brockport record. Aaron Green has been hot and showed that in coming off the bench and securing the win on Saturday. If you take away the Opening Day jitters when Nazareth hung 7 on him, his save percentage on the season is .907. Who do you go with?
Someone else to keep an eye on is Shane Cavalieri. The young buck has 7 goals on the season (which leads Brockport) and he is on pace for 10. If he gets there, he will be the rare Golden Eagle who reaches double digits in goals in his freshman year. There’s only been 1 this century --- the incomparable James Cody.
Cavalieri, Green, Lockhurst and crew will have their work cut out for them. But, that’s been the theme for this young team all season. If they make good on their potential and show the same heart they did on Saturday, they should be able to pull off one of the great upsets of the season.
Let’s hope they do. I’d love to see another playoff game at Tuttle North.