Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Brockport's 4-2 upset over Plattsburgh last Friday, Feb. 20, was both monumental and improbable. The No. 3 ranked Cardinals, a perennial SUNYAC powerhouse and two-time national champion, found themselves on the losing side against Brockport for the first time since Brockport head coach Brian Dickinson started at the college in 1996.

The last three times Plattsburgh came to Brockport, the Eagles lost by an average score of 6-1. In 2009 and 2010, Plattsburgh eliminated Brockport from the SUNYAC tournament in the semi-final round. It's fair to say Brockport has had its problems with the Cardinals.

The game didn't start as though an upset was in the making. Three minutes into the game, Brockport gave Plattsburgh a power play that Plattsburgh capitalized on to take an early 1-0 lead. If Brockport was going to pull off this upset, it couldn't afford to give Plattsburgh the man-advantage. It only took 59 seconds for the Eagles to tie the game.

Senior forward James Cody leads the team with 19 goals and scored a hat trick. His first of the night tied the game and gave Brockport hope.

Dickinson said that was when the team felt it could pull off the upset.

"When we answered that fast, the atmosphere on the bench felt like we could do this," he said. "As a coach, we wanted to get out of the first period in good shape. We made adjustments after the first period that made it tougher for them to get good scoring chances."

Brockport senior goaltender, Oliver Wren, had 37 saves in a spectacular performance against Plattsburgh. With the game tied 2-2, Brockport had a 5-3 power play that could've ended in disaster. Within 90 seconds of each other, both men came out of the penalty box and were fed the puck at center ice, leaving them one-on-one with Wren. Both times, Wren made the save on the breakaway.

"I haven't been pleased with my performance on breakaways this year, but I worked on it in practice with the assistant coaches a lot this week," Wren said. "The work paid off on the one-on-one situations and I couldn't be happier that as a team, we came out and won."

With 2:58 to go, junior forward Nick Panepinto made Tuttle North Ice Arena erupt when he put the Golden Eagles up 3-2. Cody added an empty net goal to secure the victory.

"For all the hard work and heartache we've gone through, this is the best feeling for the seniors," Wren said. "It's unbelievable."

Despite the huge victory on Friday, the important game for Brockport was Saturday, Feb. 11 against Potsdam. Brockport won 5-3, keeping the team hopeful about it's chances to enter the playoffs.

Brockport was two points behind Potsdam before the game and moved into a tie with the Bears for the sixth and final playoff spot. Currently, Brockport is one point behind Geneseo, which holds fifth place.

In order for Brockport to have a chance at entering the playoffs they must defeat Morrisville Saturday, Feb. 18, in the team's last game of the season. To make it in, the Eagles need help from Morrisville. It needs to knock off Geneseo Friday, Feb. 17 allowing Brockport to jump over them. If the two teams are tied in points, Brockport will have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The other way to make the playoffs is if Potsdam comes away with only one point in games at Cortland and Oswego next week. A Brockport victory over Morrisville will give them the final playoff spot. If these two teams are tied, they'll need to find the tiebreaker for the final spot.

Saturday's victory capped off the historic weekend for Brockport. Panepinto continued his hot weekend with two goals against Potsdam, as did sophomore forward Mike Baxter. Freshman forward Troy Polino had the game-winning goal at 8:38 in the third period. Wren had 31 saves.

As Saturday was senior night, it was the last home game for most of the team. Dickinson said there isn't a better way to send them out.

"To beat these two teams in one weekend is something no other team here has done, and the seniors will always have that," Dickinson said. "Probably the best weekend in the history of the program."