Hockey's historic season comes to an end
By: Dale Budzisewski
There was no Disney ending for the Golden Eagle ice hockey team, although the setup to their final game could have been taken from a movie script. Heading into Plattsburgh last Saturday, Brockport had already accomplished more than any other team in school history: The third best record in school history as a division III team, their first home playoff game and first playoff win.
None of that mattered though as the Golden Eagles (14-10-3 overall, 7-7-2 SUNYAC) traveled to the North Country to take on the Plattsburgh Cardinals (23-1-2, 15-0-1) in the conference semifinals.
The game started - as most do in Plattsburgh - with a home goal, this time on the power play. But unlike most opponents, instead of going into a shell, Brockport picked up the energy and came right back. At the halfway point of the opening period, freshman James Cody took a shot SUNYAC MVP Brian Hince couldn't hold on to. Sophomore Ray Tremblay slid by the defense, and knocked the rebound past Hince for the tying goal.
Thirteen seconds after Tremblay scored, he took a tripping penalty to put Brockport down, five on four. With Plattsburgh going back on the power play, the home crowd buzzed with the opportunity for another power play goal. A mishandled puck, mixed in with Plattsburgh going for a change allowed speedy senior Lucas Schott to go in on net all alone. His shot was saved, but another Hince rebound found its way to the stick of Cody, who lifted the puck over Hince for the 2-1 lead.
Plattsburgh dominance picked back up in the second period, scoring three goals, one on the power play and one shorthanded, to take a 4-2 lead into the third. An empty net goal with five minutes remaining put a fork in Brockport, nonetheless who lost, 7-2.
Plattsburgh, the No. 1 team in the nation, will move on to host Oswego, No. 12, in the SUNYAC Championship Saturday at 7 p.m.
For Brockport, they will lose six men to graduation. Captain Dave McNab, assistant captains Tim Crowley and Mike Gershon, Aaron Boyer, Lucas Schott and Rick Stanek.
Looking at next season, goalie Todd Sheridan returns for his senior season. This year, Sheridan shattered his own goals against average posting a 2.59, and also broke the single season save percentage record with a .917.
Their most consistent line down the stretch also returns, as Tremblay and Justin Noble are juniors, and Cody is a freshman.
The three freshmen defenseman, Gregg Amato, Andrew Simmons and Tyler Davis, who played every game this season, will also continue the progress they made this year to help lead a defensive group losing Gershon and Stanek.
This was a team that graduated 12 players and their top three scorers from the 2007-08 squad.
To have overcame that much roster turnover and still make the playoffs was a large sucess. Unfortunately for Brockport, they ran into the best team in the top team in the country.
If coach Brian Dickinson and his staff can put together another solid recruiting class this off-season, there is no reason Brockport won't get back into the playoffs next year.