Saturday, October 31, 2015


College President Macpherson dropped the puck on what is
one of the most highly-anticipated seasons in recent memory
(photo courtesy Brockport Athletics and Tori Langseder)

All the anticipation for last night's season opener at Tuttle North was definitely worth it. The Golden Eagles came out firing on all cylinders.

Here's the recap from the Athletic Department...

The College at Brockport ice hockey team exploded with six unanswered goals to cap off a season opening victory over State University of New York Athletic Conference rival SUNY Cortland Friday night. A balanced offense allowed 10 Golden Eagles to tally at least one point in the 6-2 win.

Cortland (0-1 overall, 0-1 SUNYAC) took a 1-0 lead into the second period but Brockport (1-0, 1-0) answered back with four goals in seven minutes to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

Jesse Facchini got the scoring started midway through the second period as he broke up a Red Dragon pass in the neutral zone and was able to breakaway and tuck the puck into the top corner of the goal.

Quick passing helped the Golden Eagles score their second goal as Jake Taylor and Aidan Verbeke moved the puck up the ice and were able to find Chase Nieuwendyk in front of the goal. Two minutes later Nieuwendyk picked up an assist on David Horan's goal to give Brockport a 3-1 lead. Brockport kept its offense going and scored a mere 15 seconds later. Cortland won the ensuing faceoff but Nieuwendyk stole the puck and took a quick shot. Chris Luker pounced on the rebound and made a sharp pass to Brian Hurlimann who netted Brockport's fourth goal of the period.

The Golden Eagles weren't done yet as they tacked on two more goals in the third. With just over six minutes remaining, Nick Palumbo shot the puck and Nieuwendyk snatched the rebound and quickly took a shot for his second goal of the game. Zac Sikich capped off the scoring with a two-on-one breakaway goal. Chris Luker fed a pass to Ryan Kangas. Kangas passed across the lane to Sikich who nailed a shot past the goaltender. Cortland scored on a power play goal late in the third but it wasn't enough as Brockport prevailed 6-2 in its first game of the season.

Jared Lockhurst earned the win after stopping 32 Cortland shots including 13 in the second period.

The Golden Eagles will head to Oswego State Saturday to take on the Lakers at 7 p.m.

Some of my thoughts...

The Big 3 did their job: The success of the team firmly rests on the shoulders of the Big 3 -- forward Chase Nieuwendyk, blueliner Chris Luker and puckstopper Jared Lockhurst. As they go, so goes the team. Last night saw them all excel...Nieuwendyk looks primed for another All-American honor as he had 2 goals and 2 assists; Luker assisted on 2 lamplighters; and Lockhurst was nearly unbeatable and incredibly sharp for a season opener.

Lunchbucket goals were -- and are -- the key to success: Brockport dominated last night on the strength of blue-collar hockey, which bodes well for the season. Far too often you see teams in DIII get cute, nervous or overly confident in their slapshots and they take many shots from just inside the blueline or at the far edge of the face-off circle. The teams that succeed -- like Oswego -- take it to the net and score most of their goals from within 10 feet of the crease. That's what Brockport did last night, pushing their way through and scoring 5 of their goals from that territory and closer -- the scorers were within 5 feet of the crease! There was no quit as the team attacked every rebound and kept on the puck. If they can do that tonight against Oswego...look out!

The hustle extended beyond goal scoring: Quite a few of the forwards showed excellent backchecking and defensive skills, complementing all of our big d-men. One fellow who kept catching my attention was Ryan Kangas who showed no quit in his efforts to steal the puck or force turnovers when he was found in the defensive zone.

This is the game the fans needed: Although the box score shows only 300 people were in the stands, it certainly looked like more than that, especially in the second period when the student section was pretty full. It was the type of game they needed to see as it will keep them coming back for more. Among the fans in attendance was our new college president Heidi Mcpherson, who participated in the ceremonial puck drop.  

This is the game the team needed: In this game the team picked up where they left off last an offensive juggernaut that really showed how scary they could be in the season-ending playoff loss to Plattsburgh. It's always seems to be the case that Brockport starts the season slow and then picks it up around Thanksgiving. Starting the season this hot? Phew! The sky's the limit!