Saturday, December 4, 2010


Reality says the score was 4-2.

Theory says the score was 3-3.

I’ve always thought that when a losing team or its fans blame bad officiating for a loss it’s truly a lame excuse because there were definitely other circumstances (lapses of good judgment, blown plays) that led to the loss.

This time, I’m making the rare exception to my own belief.

Brockport was at the top of their game last night and were ultra-competitive against the #1 team in the nation. They moved the puck well. The limited the number of shots by a potent offense. They stuck to their assignments like glue.

They did everything they could to win, but they weren’t allowed to: Officiating really did cost Brockport the game.

It all occurred in the second period.

With 11:00 minutes left, Brockport twice scored in a two-second span yet the referees failed to see either, much to the chagrin of the players and fans.

I was on the walkway behind the Brockport goal, so I had a prefect view of what transpired. The puck bounced off the crossbar and fell behind the goal line (goal!). It immediately bounced out and back in on a deflection, this time, Oswego goaltender Paul Beckwith had the puck in his glove, but put his glove hand behind him and the goal line, and onto the ice in an effort to stabilize himself (goal!), before quickly whipping the puck back out into traffic.

That would have made the game 3-2 at that time. Instead, we were left with 3-1.

Three minutes later, James Cody obliterated an Oswego player with a clean forearm shiver (the Oswego player had just released the puck). James was called for interference. That bad call allowed Luke Moodie to score a power play goal, making it 4-1 Oswego.

Those blown calls sullied an otherwise solid period for Brockport. Brockport played at more of an up tempo pace and they worked hard to attempt an upset. The Golden Eagles top line showed they deserve that title. Ian Finnerty was relentless all night on both ends of the ice and his linemate Tom Galiani was lights out. His first goal, fed by Ian was threaded through as small a spot as possible, right between Beckwith’s skate and the upright.

That line made good in the 3rd period, too, when Tom lit the lamp again. Coming off a fast break, he was well fed with a nifty pass from James Cody who was in the corner. Tom let it rip and badly beat Beckwith with a hard wrist shot.

Those final 2 periods were in stark contrast to the first when Brockport was outscored 3-0. Oswego looked brilliant in the first, like they deserved to be the top-ranked team. Unlike Laker teams of old that thrived off big, physical specimens possessed of great speed and wicked shots, this “smaller” team (they all looked similar in size to Brockport, a team they have historically towered over) they are now a team of discipline. Each line is like a well-oiled machine…they abandon personal plays and focus on the collective, rarely straying from orchestrated rushes and set-ups. If you like hockey, you have to admire it even though they are the enemy.

Oswego’s Paul Rodrigues looked sharp all night and he was everywhere. He scored the first goal that showed his talents: He used his strength to push off his defender and then blasted a seeing-eye puck through a 4-man screen. His play was rivaled by that of only Luke Moodie. Besides his PP goal, he had a jaw dropping blast in the first that looked like it wanted to tear right through the net. In his post-game interview on WBSU Coach Dickinson said Moodie is a DI talent playing DIII hockey. He looked like it.

But despite all the accolades and talent cast upon Oswego, Brockport really took it to the Lakers in the 2nd and 3rd. They deserved to tie, if not win. Had the refs been on their game, this morning we’d be talking about the upset of the season, and one of the biggest in Brockport’s history. Instead, we’re talking about a game that slipped away, through no fault of our team.

It’s a bummer.

But, nonetheless, the men can take pride in playing an excellent game.


Box score:


Here’s what the Brockport Athletic Department reported about the 4-2 affair….

The College at Brockport outscored No. 1 ranked Oswego 2-1 over the final two periods, but fell to the Lakers 4-2 Friday night at Brockport’s Tuttle North Ice Arena.

Three first-period goals were too much for the Golden Eagles (0-10-1 Overall, 0-7 SUNYAC) to overcome. Oswego, the top-ranked team in the most recent U.S. College Hockey Division III poll, scored its first two goals 58 seconds apart early in the first period.

A third Oswego goal with 6:10 remaining in the period pushed the lead to 3-0 before Brockport answered back. Senior forward Tom Galiani (Lindenhurst, NY) scored the first of his two goals 6:01 into the second period. Junior goalie Oliver Wren (Oakville, ONT) started the rush, passing to junior forward Ian Finnerty (Ardmore, PA), who slipped a pass to Galiani, who buried the shot to slice Oswego’s lead to 3-1.

Oswego got another goal seven minutes later and took a 4-1 lead into the final period. Brockport pressured the Lakers (10-0 overall, 7-0 SUNYAC) and, with 11 minutes remaining, had a pair of solid looks from point-blank range, but the Green and Gold couldn’t draw any closer until Galiani’s second goal of the game, with 8:58 left to play. Sophomore defenseman Colby Spooner (Hilton, NY) started the break, hitting junior forward James Cody (Schwenksville, PA), who fed Galiani on a breakway. Galiani sent his fourth goal of the season past a diving Oswego goalie.

“We had them on the run there for a while, and I thought we did a fantastic job of just out-working them for the last two periods,” said Brockport head coach Brian Dickinson.

“I thought we put ourselves in a great position and had some great looks all night long. We played well without the puck tonight, I thought we moved the puck well, we worked hard … I’m pleased with the effort that we gave on finishing our checks tonight.”

Wren made 26 saves, including stopping 13 of 14 shots in the second period, for the Golden Eagles. Brockport returns to action with a 7 p.m. home game Saturday night against Cortland.