Thursday, February 2, 2012


A lot of sports fans are looking forward to this weekend for one thing…the Super Bowl.

Not me. In my opinion, the real “Big Game” – the best sporting event of the weekend - takes place on Friday night when the most intense hockey rivalry in Western New York takes to the ice at Tuttle North ice Arena, when the Brockport Golden Eagles host the Geneseo Ice Knights.

These games have always been well-played, chippy affairs, but it takes on special meaning this week as the Golden Eagles will be in a fight for their playoff lives. Brockport is currently on the outside looking in for SUNYAC postseason play with 7 points, tied with Cortland with whom they dropped a real heartbreaker last week. In the sixth and last spot in the playoff chart sits Potsdam with 8 points. Geneseo is in fifth place at 10 points.

Brockport has to get 2 points to get past Potsdam and hope that Potsdam drops both games at home this weekend against Fredonia and Buffalo State in order to take sixth. That’s not going to happen; Potsdam will split, which if Brockport wins puts Brockport at 9 points and Potsdam at 10 (which makes their February 11th game look like a playoff game in itself). If Brockport loses to Geneseo, then the season is done, because, counting this weekend, Potsdam could easily go 2-4 the rest of the way and maybe even 4-2. Brockport has just 3 games left after this weekend and one is Plattsburgh. Then there’s the matter of Geneseo…if Brockport wins, 1 point splits them and Geneseo, too, has 3 games left, including Plattsburgh.

Anyway you put it, the playoff scene is a mess and Brockport HAS to win Friday or the Seniors end their career with 2 consecutive playoff-free seasons after starting it with 2 consecutive playoff seasons. They don’t want to see that happen. The fans don’t. And, I don’t: These Seniors are a special bunch to me, having produced the two best Brockport seasons that I’ve been witness to. I want to see them go out on a high note.

Geneseo comes into the contest at 11-10 and they are the 19th best offense in DIII, scoring at a 3.67 clip, just behind Brockport’s 17th place output. Geneseo has a well-balanced, deep attack. 10 guys are at 11 points or more, led by Zach Vit and his 27 points and 11 goals. Firepower also comes from David Arduin (9 goals) and Corbin Rosmarin (8 goals). They are a little light from a defensive standpoint, allowing 3.19 goals per game (44th in DIII). Their #1 Adrian Rubeniuk will probably see action in the net this week. He sports a solid .908 and 2.64 line. In conference play his saves percentage drops to .890.

When last they played in November at Geneseo, Brockport dominated what was then the 14th-ranked team in the nation. The 6-1 score saw Steve Sachman lead the way with 2 goals and Oliver Wren made 27 saves.

A highly motivated Golden Eagle team should win and don’t be surprised if the Cody-Finnerty tandem scores 3 goals amongst themselves. Ollie will be up to the task of stopping the puck, too…I thought he was exceptional in the Oswego game and - other than a bad luck bounce off his glove – he made some great saves (including a few jaw droppers) against some of the best lines in DIII in that game.

If I had to defer to the crystal ball, it would predict a 4-2 Brockport victory on Friday. Let’s hope I’m right as the season hangs on Friday’s performance.