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Ice hockey ends month on a sour note

by Lou Venditti
Tue, Nov 28th 2017 09:00 pm
The Golden Eagles (left) look on from the bench as a forward tries to gain possesion from the opposing defender. The ice hockey team will be looking to bounce back from its latest loss to Castleton University with a win over Cortland this weekend.
The Golden Eagles (left) look on from the bench as a forward tries to gain possesion from the opposing defender. The ice hockey team will be looking to bounce back from its latest loss to Castleton University with a win over Cortland this weekend.

The first month of the season is officially over, and the Brockport Golden Eagles men’s hockey team are sitting pretty. The team sit at 5–3–1 overall and 2–1–1 in SUNYAC play. In the SUNYAC conference, Brockport are third with five points, trailing only Geneseo and Oswego. 

The 5–3–1 start is one of the more impressive starts in recent years for the hockey team. At this point last season, the team was 3–4–1 with a minus six goal differential. The team has scored nine more goals with with 37 and a plus 10 goal differential in the first month of this season. 

The top three scorers on the team are all featured on the same line. The Golden Eagle’s top line have combined for 19 goals, 23 assists and 42 points in just nine games played. Senior winger and captain Aidan Verbeke leads the team with 15 points off seven goals and eight assists. Senior winger Zac Sikich is in second with 14 points over eight goals and six assists. Sophomore center Connor Hutchins is in third with 13 points on four goals and nine assists. 

The overall record of the team doesn’t tell the entire story. The Golden Eagles got off to a rocking start, winning four of their first five games and tying the other; however, the team has started to slump, going 1-3 in their last four games, starting with a back breaking loss against SUNY Potsdam on Veteran’s Day. 

“We got off to the hot start and that really got everyone talking,” captain Aidan Verbeke said. “We’ve slowed down our last four games, but that’s just a learning curve and it’s better to get it out of the way now.”

What’s more is the team’s drastic differences in performance between wins and losses. When the Golden Eagles win, they’re outscoring opponents 24-9 with at least four goals per game. In losses, the Golden Eagles have been outscored 11–18, averaging about three goals per game.

“It’s been sort of a tale of two teams with our wins and losses this season,” Verbeke said. “When we play our game, we get wins. When we don’t show up, we take some licks.”

The Golden Eagles attempted to get back on track in the Catamount Radio Inviational Tournament at Castleton State University in Vermont. 

The four team tournament featured the Golden Eagles, as well as Tufts University, King’s College and Castleton. The Golden Eagles topped Tufts in the first round 5–3 before falling to Castleton in the finals 4–3. 

In the win against Tufts, the Brockport offense exploded. Hutchins and Sikich scored back to back goals less than 30 seconds apart in the first period. Junior defenseman Connar Bass added a goal early in the second period before Tufts struck back. Freshman winger Ethan Solat scored the Golden Eagle’s fourth goal, followed by an empty net goal from Hunter Laslo to close out the game.

The Golden Eagles weren’t so lucky against Castleton. The team jumped out to a commanding 3–0 lead off two goals from junior winger Tim Kielich and a power play goal from Verbeke. Then, Castleton came roaring back, scoring four unanswered goals. 

“We feel we let an inferior team step in and take two huge points from us,” Verbeke said.

Although the Golden Eagles lost the tournament, the results weren’t all bad. Kielich and sophomore goaltender Matt Schneider were named to the All-Tournament team. Kielich scored two goals and added three assists for five points on the weekend. Schneider stopped 52 of 59 shots faced with an 88.1 save percentage and 3.5 goals allowed average. 

The Golden Eagles return home after three weeks away to face off against SUNY Cortland. The game is Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles take the road the next day to face the SUNY Oswego Lakers.

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