Friday, December 5, 2014


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.