Brockport hockey fans will be treated to 2 excellent SUNYAC games this weekend at Tuttle North.
Friday’s opponent is Cortland who, despite a coaching change in the off-season and a 7-15-3 record last year, has proven to be quite game, going 2-2-1 this year, all in SUNYAC play. Among their wins, they pulled off a stunner, thumping Fredonia 4-2. Among their losses, they hung tough with Buff State in a 5-4 game.
Cortland’s strength is in its offense – the Red Dragons have scored 4 or more goals in all but one game. The team is without graduated leading scorers Chris Kaleta and Mike Lysyj, both of whom gave Brockport fits over 4 seasons, but they’ve managed to find goals from seniors Adam Bevilacqua and Miek Henrici (3 each) and plays from Nick Zappia (8 points) and Adam Moyer (6 points).
They’ve been allowed to flourish in scoring thanks to impeccable backstopping that is giving Brockport a run for their money as the best and deepest in the conference. Their 2 netminders, Mark Balkwill and Lyle Rocker, have split time and have eye-popping .929 and .918 save percentages respectively.
At that start of the season, this looked like a for-sure win for Brockport. Now, Brockport will have its hands full. On home ice, the Golden Eagles will still come out on top, thanks to the seventh-best power play in DIII facing the fourth-most penalized team in the US. The fleet-footed, attacking style of Jake Taylor and Chase Nieuwendyk will make Cortland pay for any penalties. Facing a team that averages 24 penalty minutes a game, do not be surprised if Taylor puts up yet another multi-goal game.
Prediction: Brockport 5 Cortland 3
After what will be an exhausting game on Friday, the boys will be back at it against another tough team on Saturday: Oswego.
The ever-powerful Lakers are 3-1-0, their only loss coming against Fredonia in overtime in their season opener.
Oswego is eighth in the nation in the most recent USCHO.com poll. Last week, Brockport bumped Hobart out of sixth place after tying them 1-1, so an upset is certainly within Brockport’s abilities.
Last season, Oswego made it to the national championship game (losing it for the second season in a row) on the strength of a 25-5-0 record.
But, thanks to graduation, they lost eight 20-point men including the likes of Paul Rodrigues (16-30-46), Luke Moodie (22-22-44), and Jon Whitelaw (10-20-30). You can’t replace that firepower.
They also lost Andrew Hare, who was a sick .930 and 1.88 in goal.
But, Oswego is known for excellent recruiting and their 12 freshmen and transfers are talented.
Freshman Matt Galati leads in goals with 4, followed by Brandon Adams with 3. Justin Gilbert has seen the most work in goal and sports a .911 save percentage.
This is certainly not last year’s team and they could be considered to be in a rebuilding stage. Nonetheless, they have a nice system and will make the game difficult for Brockport.
Look for goals from the guys who can bring the thunder, because Oswego does well at keeping the shots to the outside. Chris Luker, Steve Sachman, and Matt DeLuca could be critical offensive forces in this game. Oswego may find it hard to match-up with and contain the speed of Nick Marinac.
Also, look for Jared Lockhurst to frustrate the Lakers as he did the Statesmen last week.
Upset…Brockport wins 3-2.