Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Writing for the Brockport Stylus, sports reporter John Panetta offers this look at the season and a look back at this past weekend's games...

Men's ice hockey eager to heat up
After a long summer of waiting to improve on its run to the semifinals in last year’s SUNYAC tournament, The College at Brockport men’s ice hockey team returned to the ice over the weekend.
The Golden Eagles opened the weekend Friday, Oct. 30 at home against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons before traveling to face the SUNY Oswego Lakers Saturday, Oct. 31.

The Golden Eagles have brought in a diverse freshman class with players from nearby areas like Tim Kielich (East Aurora, NY), Nick Gullo (Penfield, NY) and Trevor Simonick (Amherst, NY) as well as players from far across the continent, such as Cole Burack (Rockwall, Texas) and Connar Bass (Calgary, Alberta).

This stands in contrast to the current senior class, where seven of the eight seniors are from the Province of Ontario. The change has been attributed to economics.

“I wouldn’t say [the process] changes much. It’s been tough with the government and the Canadian dollar,” Assistant Coach Steven Mallaro said. “It’s harder to get guys to come here with the exchange rate. It costs them a lot of money so getting the Canadian guys to come here is tough now.”

In 2012, when the current seniors were  starting at Brockport, the Canadian dollar was performing on par with the U.S. dollar but as of Saturday, the exchange rate was $1.31 Canadian dollars to $1 U.S dollar.

Even scheduling was different this season compared to last, with Brockport facing opposition from the SUNYAC opening weekend against Cortland and Oswego. In contrast, the nonconference foes seen last year were Hobart College and Nazareth College. Instead, Brockport will face these teams in January.

“It made the Fall a little bit more about being ready out of the chute,” Head Coach Brian Dickinson said.

Against Cortland the Golden Eagles showed additional changes from past seasons, most notably of which was senior forward Chase Nieuwendyk and sophomore forwards Zac Sikich and Ryan Kangas being paired on separate lines, despite the fact they frequently saw success when paired together last season.

Nieuwendyk had junior forward Jake Taylor and sophomore forward Aidan Verbeke alongside him on the top line, while Sikich and Kangas were joined by freshman center Tim Kielich.

“It was to give us more depth,” Dickinson said. “We felt if there was one thing we really were missing last year it was kind of that scoring depth throughout our lineup. Moving Zac [Sikich] and Ryan [Kangas] away from him [Nieuwendyk] gives us two solid offensive style lines.”

The change would prove successful, with Nieuwendyk scoring two goals and Sikich getting a goal as well, as part of a string of six unanswered goals. Brockport went on to defeat Cortland 6 - 2 on opening night.

The Golden Eagles went from trailing Cortland 1 - 0 after the first period, to taking a 4 - 1 lead after the second periods, including a stretch of three goals within two minutes and 15 seconds later in that half.

Senior forward Jesse Facchini, sophomore forward David Horan and sophomore defender Brian Hurlimann would also have goals for the Golden Eagles while senior defender Chris Luker, sophomore forward Aidan Verbeke, sophomore forward Ryan Kangas, freshman defender Nick Palumbo and junior forward Jake Taylor would each record assists.

“I think any time you start your year with a win it’s a great feeling,” Dickinson said.

The road trip to Oswego Saturday night in front of a packed Marano Campus Center arena crowd proved to be a more difficult task for the Golden Eagles.

Facing an opponent that was ranked No. 5 in Division III ice hockey going into the game, Brockport fought to try and take an early lead, but was unable to get an edge over the Lakers.

Neither side could score during the first period, with Oswego only having a slim lead in shots after the first period 8 - 6.

Unfortunately for Brockport, the deciding goal would come in the second period, as Laker junior forward Kenny Neal would put in a one-time shot off of a feed from Laker junior forward Shawn Hulshof on the power play early in the second period.

Laker sophomore forward Mitchell Hurlihey also tallied an empty net goal in the final minute of the third to seal Brockport’s fate, falling 2 - 0 and dropping its record to 1 - 1 on the season.

“The outcome obviously was not fun, but it was a heck of a college hockey game between two really good teams,” Dickinson said. “And unfortunately it came down to a five minute powerplay when really we had the best chance but it doesn’t go in and they come right down and score.”

Brockport will face the Morrisville State College Mustangs this weekend in a home game as part of a home series of matchups. The Golden Eagles will be visiting Morrisville Friday, Nov 6. and then will host the Mustangs Saturday, Nov. 7.

Original source: