Here’s Dale Budzisewski’s assessment of last weekend’s game, from the pages of the Stylus….
For the first time in school history, students and fans of the Brockport Golden Eagle ice hockey team can witness SUNYAC playoff action from the confines of Tuttle North Ice Arena. Well, almost. With the 5-3 win over Cortland (8-13-2, 5-7-2 SUNYAC) Saturday, Brockport (13-7-3, 7-5-2) needs a single point in its next two games this weekend to clinch the third seed in the conference.
If you haven't paid attention to the action on the ice in Brockport, let me give you a quick update. In November, senior assistant captain Mike Gershon scored three times on Geneseo, and recorded the first known hat-trick by a defenseman in school history.
In the middle of a school record - see a theme here? - 10-game unbeaten streak, head coach Brian Dickinson earned his 100th career victory.
The Golden Eagles beat Geneseo again, Jan. 30, marking the first time since the 1999-2000 season that Brockport has swept their regional rival in the season series.
Their next win put them at 14 for the season, the most for any team under coach Dickinson. Their current 13 wins are the most since 17 in 1987-88, which coincidentally was the last time Brockport finished with a winning record.
This is all possible because of the aforementioned win over Cortland Saturday. During Senior Night, the senior line of Dave McNab, Tim Crowley and Aaron Boyer showed up in a big way.
Already up 1-0, Brockport started the second period on the penalty kill. An errant pass from the Red Dragons allowed McNab to show off his blazing speed. The captain withheld hacks, holds and slashes from a Cortland defender as he bested their goalie to give Brockport a 2-0 lead.
Cortland did score on a power play to make it a one goal game, but before the second period ended, the senior line scored again. Boyer found McNab, who slid the puck over to Crowley. Crowley then hit the top left corner, just over the goalie's right shoulder to give the Golden Eagles a 3-1 lead going into the break.
After another Cortland power-play goal, Boyer scored his first non-power-play goal of the season and his sixth of the year. McNab passed it to Crowley, who hit Boyer in close. Boyer was able to get the puck through a lot of traffic for the eventual game-winner goal. Another ongoing trend, Cortland scored their third power-play goal of the game in less than two minutes after Boyer scored to cut the deficit back to one at 4-3.
Brockport finally capitalized on a power play thanks to McNab. McNab passed to the end line for Boyer, whose pass or shot went up into the air. McNab was able to take a baseball swing at it and knock it into the back of the net.
Overall, McNab finished with a pair of goals and assists, with his fellow seniors Boyer and Crowley netting one apiece, and assisting on two others.
This weekend, each team in the conference has two games - or four points - to determine their playoff hopes. Plattsburgh needs a single point to clinch first place, and Oswego can do no worse than second. Both of those teams will receive a first-round bye.
Brockport's 16 points puts them three up on Geneseo's 13 for third place. Brockport owns the tiebreaker with Geneseo, thus only needing a tie to clinch the third spot.
With either a third or fourth-place finish, Brockport will be home next Tuesday, Feb. 24, to host either Buffalo State, Cortland or Potsdam, barring a complete disaster by Geneseo.
Brockport goes to Fredonia Friday and Buffalo State Saturday. Both games start at 7 p.m., and can be heard live on 89.1 FM or 891thepoint.com.