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Hockey remains undefeated in its first four games

by Lou Venditti
Tue, Nov 7th 2017 10:00 pm
Sophomore forward Doc Gentzler (left) beats a Fredonia defender to the puck and looks to start an attack.
Sophomore forward Doc Gentzler (left) beats a Fredonia defender to the puck and looks to start an attack.

The Brockport Golden Eagles’ men’s hockey team powered through its second week of the season, winning a game and then tying its  second. The Golden Eagle’s faced off against SUNY Fredonia on Friday, Nov. 3, at home before taking to the road and heading to Buffalo State. 

The Green and Gold topped Fredonia 4–1 on the backs of a two-goal night from senior right wing Zac Sikich. Senior center Dylan Shapiro started scoring off with a goal 53 seconds into the game, followed by a power play goal late in the first period from Sikich. Fredonia scored its lone goal in the second period, cutting the Golden Eagles lead to one. Then, Sikich scored again late in the third, followed by an empty net goal from senior left wing Aidan Verbeke to slam the door shut on the win.

The Golden Eagles looked as impressive as they have all season against Fredonia. The power play went to work five times, converting just once. One power play goal is exceptional against Fredonia, however.

“That’s a very difficult penalty kill to get through,” head coach Brian Dickinson said. “It’s like they’re playing five goalies on the ice. They don’t overly chase in the zone.”

While the power play got better as the game went on, the penalty kill has been superb for the Golden Eagles this season. Against Fredonia, the Golden Eagles killed off three penalties, including a two minute five on three. The team gave up its first power play goal of the season against Buffalo State, coming early in the third period. 

“What I’m most impressed with is our penalty kill,” Dickinson said. “We’ve killed off two lengthy five on threes, and that’s obviously been impressive. It’s helped us win some hockey games, and coming from next to last last season, we’ve changed it and we’ve gone more aggressive. The kids have bought in.”

The kids certainly have bought in, but not just on the power play. Freshman defenseman Casey Winn continued with his hot hand, scoring a goal over the weekend to increase his point total to five. Freshman winger Danny Rock has seen power play time and added an assist of his own, jumping up to four points on the season.

The best performances of the weekend came from Sikich, Verbeke and sophomore center Connor Hutchins. Hutchins posted three assists against Fredonia, bringing him up to eight points on the season. Verbeke had a pair of goals, one in each game, plus an assist against Buffalo State. Verbeke is tied with Hutchins with eight points on the season. Sikich had a huge game against Fredonia, scoring two goals, followed by another goal against Buffalo State. Sikich was awarded the team hardhat for his performance against Fredonia.

“The hard hat goes to the player who works the hardest that game,” Sikich said. “The person who won it the previous game gives a little speech and hands it out.”

The Golden Eagles have suffered a handful of injuries to start the season. Freshman forward Jeremy Solat is out for the year after a freak accident in practice. The team ran with eleven forwards and seven defensemen against Fredonia before returning to full strength against Buffalo State. 

“We’re a little banged up up front,” Dickinson said. “Freshman forward Shane Visnick tweaked his knee against King’s and didn’t skate a lot this week and we just didn’t wanna throw him out there with just one day of practice.” 

The Golden Eagles return home to play Plattsurgh on Friday, Nov. 10. The game is sponsored by the Brockport Student Government as one of the Eagle Empire games of the season. The team stays put at home to face off against SUNY Potsdam on November 11 to end the week before traveling to Canton the week after.

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