Consider the following…
|Jared Lockhurst and the blueliners held Oswego to just 2 goals|
(photo courtesy Corey Perry)
Consider that I’ve been watching Brockport hockey for 20 seasons now (the first game I ever attended was a game against Oswego), so I’ve seen a lot of the game that contribute to the Golden Eagles 5-81-4 history against the Lakers. This was, by far, the most competitive one that I’ve ever seen. Brockport was in it for the whole game, so unlike past matchups (like last season’s 7-1 and 6-4 games for example).
Consider that Jared Lockhurt’s first weekend of NCAA was not an anomaly. He followed up his stellar performances against Buffalo State and Fredonia with another masterpiece against Oswego. He made 39 saves last night. Not only do his first 3 games rank as the greatest debut for a Brockport hockey player, it’s also the best 3 game stretch of any Brockport goaltender. In 3 games he’s faced 112 shots and turned away 107 of them, good for a .955 save percentage and a 1.68 goals against average. I know it’s early in his career to be making such statements, but the kid looks like the real deal. He has excellent fundamentals, a superior glove, and good mental make-up --- he never appears flustered and when he did get beat, he’d skate off the side, collect himself and come right back like it never happened. With 14 freshmen in the line-up who are adjusting to the game at this level (he being one of them), he gives them all a great safety net at the backend to allow them to learn and adjust to the NCAA.
Consider that Brockport’s freshman-heavy roster kept in check an uber-talented Laker team that’s virtually unchanged since making it to the DIII championship game last March. That lineup was third in the nation in scoring last season at 4.47 goals per game and in their first 2 games this year scored 7 and 9 goals. Yes, Lockhurst made a lot of saves, and at least 10 great ones, but the defensemen did a great job of keeping the vaunted Oswego attack – including the stellar #1 line – from getting close to the net. Many of the shots were taken from outside and Lockhurst for the most part had clear looks at any of the attempts.
Consider that Oswego kept the Brockport offense in check. Andrew Hare didn’t have to do anything exceptional to earn the shutout as he wasn’t tested but maybe 3 times. There was an extended stretch in the third where Brockport could not get past the blue line. This was a result of 3 factors: Oswego’s backcheck, Brockport’s energy (they looked whooped and listless halfway through the 3rd), and Brockport’s youth (these lines are still gelling). The last 2 factors can be adjusted with a little attention to the body and more time together under their belt, respectively. Once these new forwards learn what tools their linemates possess and what preferences they have, goals should come…the talent’s there, it just needs to be unleashed.
Consider that the future bodes well for this team. Discounting the top 2 teams in the SUNYAC (Oswego, Plattsburgh) they can beat any team in the league and as shown last night, they aren’t that far from upsetting the Top 2. The freshmen are off to a great start, and once they become more polished, they should make an extended run in the playoffs – even as soon as this year (which is amazing). With Oswego being an older team set for significant turnover in the next 2 seasons, Brockport might move to the top of the league in the coming years. That’s how much hope these guys give the program and long-term fans like me.
I cannot help but come away from last night’s loss without feeling good about the game and about Golden Eagle hockey.