Coming off of a State University of New York Athletic Conference quarter-final appearance, The College at Brockport ice hockey team is looking to make strides and bring home a SUNYAC Championship this season.
The Golden Eagles were picked to finish fifth in the SUNYAC Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released by the conference office last week.
"That poll serves as motivation for us," commented Head Coach Brian Dickinson. "It gives us something to aim for and show the coaches that picked us fourth or fifth, that we're better than that."
Last season, the Green and Gold finished with a .500 record that included a 3-2 upset of UMASS Boston, who was ranked fifth nationally at the time.
Brockport graduated eight seniors last year, a class that will be hard to replace.
"It's hard to replace a two-time All-American and one of the top defensemen in the league, but our new guys have stepped right up to the plate and shown us that they want to be here," noted Dickinson.
Dickinson brought in nine newcomers this year comprising of six freshman and three transfers. The addition of Hunter Laslo and Hunter Critchlo on offense, as well as Chris Pollini and Bryan Carville on defense, will provide a spark to the Golden Eagles production on both sides of the puck.
"The guys that we added this year are all hard workers. From day one they've shown their best and I think they'll step in and really contribute to our lineup," said Dickinson.
Also joining the Green and Gold this season is assistant coach Kris Horn, who previously coached at the Division I level at Union College.
"He is a student of the game and brings a lot to our program. He has an ora about him that demands respect, and all around he's a really good guy," commented Dickinson.
The Golden Eagles have a strong sophomore class returning to the ice in forward Tim Kielich and goaltender Cole Burack. Kielich was named the SUNYAC Rookie of the Year last season after scoring eight goals and 11 assists in 16 conference games and adding another three goals and eight assists outside the league. Burack posted a record of 6-4-4 between the pipes and posted one shutout against Nazareth College. The Rockwall, Texas native stopped 425 shots for a save percentage of .897.
This year's captain will be junior forward Aidan Verbeke along with assistant Rob Hall and Dylan Shapiro.
"We're really excited to have Aidan be our captain this year. He really responds to the guys well and they respect what he brings to the table," said Dickinson. "We expect Hall to anchor our defense with all the experience he has and be a leader on the blue line."
The Golden Eagles will open their season this Saturday as they take on Nazareth College at the Bill Gray's Regional Ice Plex at 4 pm. Brockport will host SUNY Oswego in its home opener on Nov. 4 at 7 pm in a rematch of last year's SUNYAC quarter-final.