Thursday, November 7, 2019

Stylus recap of opening weekend

By Carson Werner, Brockport Stylus

The College at Brockport ice hockey team opened its 2019-20 season with two road games against conference competitors. After dropping both exhibition matches a week earlier, Brockport had time to make adjustments before games on Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2 against Plattsburgh State and SUNY Potsdam. Based on the results, it seems as though the Golden Eagles’ alterations were beneficial to their success.

“Each year brings new challenges,” head coach Brian Dickinson said. “We felt we had unfinished business with Plattsburgh knocking us out of the playoffs last year. The guys have been waiting for the chance to avenge that outcome and were motivated and determined from the start.”
The first game against the Cardinals finished with four total goals that all came in the second period. After a scoreless first period, senior forward Doc Gentzler scored the first goal of the season for the Golden Eagles on the powerplay. Senior captain Connor Hutchins and junior defenseman Ryan Romeo assisted on the goal one minute into the period.

After one roughing penalty for each side, the Cardinals used four-on-four hockey to tie the game five minutes after. Brockport reclaimed the lead on junior forward Ethan Solat’s first goal of the year 30 seconds later.

“The boys executed the game plan and when we made a mistake [senior goaltender] Matt Schneider was there to make a big save for us,” Dickinson said. “I felt when Plattsburgh tied the score at one we answered quickly, which allowed us to take the momentum back. Scoring a third goal gave us a cushion and the team played very well defensively in the third period to lock down the win.”

Sophomore forward Mitchell Parsons increased the lead to two just over the halfway point in the period. Forwards Jordan Renaud, Hunter Laslo, Zach Norby and Gentzler all finished with an assist apiece. Schneider made 29 saves in the contest. At two different points in the game, Schneider was forced to make five consecutive stops to maintain the lead.

The second game of the weekend against Potsdam featured a more evenly-matched SUNYAC battle. Romeo put the Golden Eagles on the board five minutes into the first period, using assists from freshman defenseman Anthony Hora and Ethan Solat. The Bears managed to respond on their ninth shot of the period and the score remained tied going into the second.

The second period featured nine penalties and 14 shots between the two sides. It wasn’t until the final minute of the frame that either team capitalized on the man-advantage. With five seconds left, Potsdam took the lead and momentum to enter the final 20 minutes of play.

After failing to convert on four powerplays in the first and second periods, the Golden Eagles converted on two of three in the third to pick up the win. With help from Romeo and Hora, Gentzler evened the score at two with his second powerplay goal of the weekend. Just over a minute later, Hora scored his first collegiate goal to give Brockport the lead with 15 minutes left in the game. Schneider made nine saves to preserve the lead and Hora’s go-ahead goal turned into the eventual game-winner.

“It’s huge, obviously doing anything to help the team win is a big thing for me,” Hora said. “Nothing happens in that third period if we come out flat as a team. The pressure we put on Potsdam to start the third period was an enormous boost for us and really got our legs going.”

Hora played a huge role in the victory over Potsdam, finishing the game with a goal and two assists. In the exhibition matches leading up to this weekend, Hora collected a goal against Elmira as well.
“I’ve always been an offensive-minded defenseman growing up, but none of that happens without having a strong defensive zone presence,” Hora said. “It can take time for things to come for defenseman, but when it does, you just need to make the most of it.”

Between Romeo and Hora, the two accounted for two goals and four assists against Plattsburgh and Potsdam. However, the biggest influence in the two wins was Brockport’s powerplay offense.
The specialized lines went 3-10 with 10 shots during its opportunities. Last year, the squad scored 26 times on 143 man-advantage chances for a conversion percentage of .182.

“The powerplay needs to be better than last year for sure,” Dickinson said. “We felt that it let us down in many games last year and it’s been a point of emphasis since day one for us. We learned a lot about ourselves in our two exhibition games where we went 0-11. After solid video analysis, the players went back to work and had a very successful weekend. The powerplay needs to produce both by scoring goals or by keeping momentum in order for us to be successful this season.”

The Golden Eagles will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9 with back-to-back home games against Morrisville State. Friday’s game, which starts at 7 p.m., will be Brockport’s senior night and Stop the Stigma Green Out.