Wednesday, November 14, 2012


In her weekly sports column for the Stylus, Editor-in-Chief Cassie Negley writes about the new-look Golden Eagles...

This isn’t your father’s Brockport, according to 16-year Brockport hockey head coach Brian Dickinson.

No, it’s not. It’s not even your older sibling’s Brockport. 

In the past there have been blowouts, sloppy play and wishy-washy effort. We’ve seen the first this year in an unfortunate 2-7 slaughter to upstart Nazareth on opening night. We haven’t seen either of the other two, though, which are really the ones that matter most. 

“We always kind of say hard work beats talent at this level 95 percent of the time,” Dickinson said after the Eagles tied No. 7 Hobart 2-2 Friday, Nov. 9. “So if you work hard and you’re more talented, the talent should win.”

Dickinson said that’s what happened in the 5-3 victory over Cortland. It’s also what happens in all the losses, even though they are losses. 

Because unlike your father’s Brockport and your older sibling’s Brockport, this Brockport plays hard for every second of that 60 minutes. 

The upsets over Elmira and Plattsburgh last season certainly helped catapult the current 2-4-1 record. Elmira was ranked No. 5 when Ian Finnerty, then a senior, scored the game winner in overtime at home Dec. 9. 

No. 3 Plattsburgh had completely dominated Brockport for 34 years when the Eagles won only their second of 75 games between the teams Feb. 10 in Tuttle North. 

Those two games made a statement and this year’s team is continuing it. Assistant coach and lead recruiter Nick Unger tweeted Friday before the game that to get respect, you must make a statement. 
That statement?

“The statement is, Brockport’s here to stay and it’s going to be a battle every night and you better bring your best if you want a chance to beat us,” Dickinson said. 

Freshman first-liner Jeremy DeFazio was at Tuttle North for both upsets and is ready to take other team’s bests. He made his official visit as a recruit for the Elmira game during finals week. 

committed to Brockport and made a trip back for the Plattsburgh game. He had a bye in the playoffs with the Georgetown Raiders and decided “why not?”

An upset over the nation’s No. 5 team. An upset of the century over perennial bully and No. 3 Plattsburgh. DeFazio has to be the good luck charm, right? 

He says Unger and Dickinson like to call him that, but his answer goes back to the new view of Brockport hockey. 

“I think you create your own luck,” DeFazio said the night before he scored his first collegiate goal in a 4-5 loss at Elmira. “I wouldn’t say I’m the good luck charm, I’d say we’re going to create our own luck and win with work ethic. 

“We have a good squad and some great coaches who are being really patient with the obviously big freshman class and having a young team.”

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. The Eagles are flying with only two seniors and with a whopping 14 freshmen who make up exactly one-half of the roster. 

Veteran players are riding the bench and rookies are dominating play. If you’re winning, why change things? If you’re working hard to not lose your spot and you deserve it, there’s no point in putting a guy in simply because he’s been around a few years.

“Nobody’s given the door a crack for the veterans to get back in who are out,” Dickinson said. “From a coach’s standpoint, it’s good to finally have that depth.”

Dickinson’s main example was last year’s finale in Morrisville. Ignoring that then-senior forward James Cody should never have been given a suspension for a hit he gave against Potsdam, the fact is he was out. And it hurt. 

The lines changed, resulting in one goal and missed playoff hopes in that game. Hopefully, that won’t happen this year, as the depth is deeper than your older sibling’s team by far. And the freshmen are downright dirty good. 

It’s all that, and maybe a little luck of the DeFazio, that makes this team more than its 2-4-1 record. It makes them a team to enjoy watching, even if the final score is a defeat. 

As Dickinson said,  “We’re not anybody’s cupcake.”