After losing the most decorated senior class in the college’s history, any hockey program would be shaking in its boots.
While it’s darn near impossible to make up for the absence of Brockport’s only two-time All-American (Chase Nieuwendyk), Brockport’s only 3-time All-SUNYAC pick (blueliner Chris Luker) and the College’s first SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year (Chad Cummings), the Golden Eagles are in far better shape than one might think.
Those young men were leaders who helped to grow the next classes of hockey greatness, helping Coach Dickinson to develop the underclassmen and bring to them the confidence and “game within a game” knowledge that creates a winning team and individual excellence. Many of the Golden Eagles matured dramatically on the ice and it bodes well for their future.
Last year’s squad went 11-11-4. A cursory look at the 2016-2017 schedule and roster shows that this year’s version Golden Eagles could realistically reach 14 wins, a tally not achieved since the 2009-2010 season. The pieces are all there to point to such success.
One of the biggest surprises of last season was Tim Kielich. He had one of the best freshman seasons of any Brockport player ever, tallying a whopping 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists). He won the conference’s Rookie of the Year honors, but was overlooked in the All-SUNYAC picks. He won’t be in the coming years; his poise and vision are extraordinary and he is as consistent as they come.
|Tim Kielich is Brockport's superstar,|
primed for another great season
He’ll be paired with junior Ryan Kangas, a speedster who amassed 12 goals and 14 assists last year and is one of the most underrated two-way forwards in the SUNYAC.
Another 20-plus point scorer is a holdover from last year. Aidan Verbeke had a 5-17-22 line and worked some magic with Zac Sikich, who had 10 goals in his sophomore campaign and is getting better with age. Don’t be surprised if Sikich lights the lamp more than a dozen times this season.
Losing Luker and Cummings hurts, but the defensive squad is developing nicely. Among them are Connar Bass and Nicholas Palumbo, who both earned spots on USCHO.com’s All-Rookie team for the conference. Those selection were made by SUNYAC coaches who now have to find ways to beat their stifling play for the next 3 years.
Senior Rob Hall brings consistent, unheralded play to the ice. Despite just 4 points on the season, he produces the way a true defenseman should, focusing on containing threats and staying out of the penalty box. The same holds true for the strong Brian Hurlimann, who had just 2 points last year, which, again belies how well he plays.
Three interesting non-freshman recruits to watch for are Brandon McMartin who played for SUNY Canton last year, Kevin Chilton who played for Nichols College and Bryan Carville who played for Hobart. They will all contribute out of the gate.
It seems that the Todd Sheridan era redefined goaltending at Brockport as it has been a definite strength of the program since Todd hit the ice here ten years ago. In the years that followed we were blessed with the likes of Oliver Wren, Aaron Green, and Jared Lockhurst.
That strong tradition continues…
Last season’s #1 was Cole Burack, who showed flashes of brilliance that belie his .897 save percentage. He had some huge games and is undoubtedly the most athletic goaltender in the SUNYAC, regularly making highlight reel saves. He went 6-4-4 last year and there’s no reason to think that he shouldn’t exceed a .910 save percentage this season. He’s “must watch” because you never know what sort of save he will make next.
|Cole Burack plays an exciting brand of hockey|
Sophomore Jake Moore appeared in 3 games last year, in which he secured a solid 3.21 GAA.
Both will be tested by freshman Matt Schneider, who had a stellar 2015-2016 season with the Florida Eels of the USPHL Elite league. In 26 games he had an amazing .945 save percentage and a 2.13 GAA.
All of the above, along with yet another strong recruiting class, show that Brockport Hockey is in good hands and primed for a successful – and entertaining – season that could take them deep into the SUNYAC playoffs.