Reporting for the Brockport Stylus, Eric Mueller looks at what the freshmen have meant to the team...
Freshmen helping ice hockey continue to compete
The College at Brockport ice hockey team is 10 games into the season.
The team has a record of 4 - 5 - 1 overall. Brockport had an impressive
4 - 4 tie against SUNY Oswego the No. 2 team in the nation, Brockport
is now unbeaten in Oswego the past two seasons.
This past weekend, the Golden Eagles came away with a 4 - 3 victory
over Manhattanville College Saturday, Nov. 29, in the championship game
of the Rutland Herald Invitational Tournament. One of the bright spots
this year has been the impressive play of their younger players.
The play of the team’s true freshmen has stood out in particular. The
four notable freshmen are forwards Ryan Kangas, Zac Sikich, Dylan
Shapiro and defenseman Brian Hurlimann. Between the four, they have 16
points. Kangas leads the way with nine of those 16. There has been a
seamless transition from junior play to the college game for these
particular players. Not only are they playing but the freshmen are
making plays and forcing Head Coach Brian Dickinson to give them added
responsibility on special teams. The play of Kangas and Sikich has not
gone unnoticed. The two freshmen forwards work extremely hard on the
ice, which in turn has earned them a spot on the top line with the
team’s leading scorer junior forward Chase Nieuwendyk.
Kangas has nine points on the season which leads all freshmen. Kangas
is one of the smartest players on the ice and has great patience with
the puck. His positioning has been top notch this year which has
resulted in some good offensive numbers. Kangas is able to find the
holes on the ice, which is why he is almost always available to his
line-mates for a pass. Positioning comes natural to Kangas and he
credits most of his offensive production to “being in the right place at
the right time this year.”
“Ryan Kangas knows the game extremely well,” Dickinson said. “He’s
very patient with the puck he doesn’t panic [...] He’s been a real good
fit where ever we have put him. He’s settled in on the power play real
nice and has about five power play points this season.”
The recruit who has flown under the radar has been Sikich.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Dickinson said. “We didn’t know much
about him coming out of Granite City in Minnesota. He was actually
referred to us by an alumni and skating-wise he’s proven that he can
play at this level and has just moved himself up from a fourth line type
of situation to now playing on our first.”
Sikich plays a feisty game and is always trying to get under the skin
of the other team. He has taunted the opposing teams bench trying to
get the opposing team off their game. Sikich brings a type of agitator
role and some top notch chirps to the Golden Eagles.
Hurlimann has been as steady as they come on the backend. The
freshman has had quite a bit of responsibility dropped on him and has
not disappointed his team with solid defensive play. Hurlimann rarely
gets beaten and the team breaks out of its zone with ease when he is out
there. When a defenseman is playing well, you rarely notice him on the
ice and this is most definitely the case for Hurlimann. Hurlimann rarely
makes the wrong play and puts players around him in a position to
succeed on the ice. Something that will continue to develop is
Hurlimann’s offensive game.
“He’s been real solid, a big body that likes to control the space in
front of the net and he’s done a real good job,” Dickinson said. “Real
steady type of hard-nose defenseman and he’s got cannon so we’ve used
him on the power play.”
With these four freshmen contributing the way they are now, the
future is very bright for the Golden Eagles. As the season goes on, each
one of them should continue to improve and Brockport will be a team to
be reckoned with in the future.