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Hockey Team no longer on thin ice

by Lou Vendetti
Tue, Feb 6th 2018 09:10 pm
The starting line up of Brockport's hockey team (above) skates back to its bench after scoring a goal against Morrisville College as the substitues cheer. The team enjoyed two back-to-back wins against the Morrisville team, shutting them out 4-0 during the first matchup and 5-2 in the second game. Brockport will be looking to beat Cortland for the second time this season as it faces the Red Dragons this weekend.
The starting line up of Brockport's hockey team (above) skates back to its bench after scoring a goal against Morrisville College as the substitues cheer. The team enjoyed two back-to-back wins against the Morrisville team, shutting them out 4-0 during the first matchup and 5-2 in the second game. Brockport will be looking to beat Cortland for the second time this season as it faces the Red Dragons this weekend.

The Brockport Golden Eagles got right back on track this past weekend. The men’s hockey team topped Morrisville State in back-to-back games, snapping a four game SUNYAC losing streak. The team won 4-0 on Friday, Feb.2, and 5-3 on Saturday, Feb. 3. After a rough January, the Golden Eagles started the last month of the season on the right foot.

In the first game against Morrisville, the men dominated. Goaltender Matt Schneider had one of the easiest nights of his season, stopping all 12 shots he faced for the shutout win. The Golden Eagles registered 41 shots on goal, converting four of them into goals. However, the game stayed tight until the end of the third period, when the team scored three quick goals in the waning minutes of the game. To prepare for the game, the team only had one task.

“All we had to do was look at the standings,” head coach Brian Dickinson said. “We went from being in a really good spot to in a dangerous spot, and that’s how volatile the SUNYAC is, top to bottom. We knew these guys weren’t going to be an easy game.”

The second game of the weekend was harder for the men. Schneider started his second game in a row as they found themselves down 2-0 in the first five minutes of the game before battling back. First came a goal from sophomore center Connor Hutchins, then the tying notch late in the first period on the power play from senior winger David Horan. Senior winger and captain Aidan Verbeke scored on a power play less than 30 seconds into the second period to take the lead before Morrisville tied it minutes later. Then, Hutchins scored his second goal of the game on a power play late in the second period, followed by a shorthanded goal from Verbeke to seal the deal.

“It definitely wasn’t the start we wanted to get off to,” Verbeke said. “The first goal has been huge for us this year and our record shows that. We just knew we were dominating most of the play, even when they got those two goals. It’s a long game and we knew we’d get our chances.”

When giving up the first goal, the team is 2-8-1. The Golden Eagles outshot Morrisville 46-30 on the night, with Morrisville registering more than twice the amount of shots on goal than the previous night. However, the biggest story to come out of the weekend is the top line’s tear.

The weekend was headlined by six points over the two games from Verbeke. Verbeke, along with linemates Sikich and Hutchins, combined for six of the nine goals the Golden Eagles scored. 

“We started off together and we got off to a hot start early in the year,” Verbeke said. “We took some time off and experimented with some things, but we were happy to get back with each other. I’ve been playing with Hutchins for the last two years, and Sikich for the last five or six, dating back to juniors. I’m just comfortable with both of them, we communicate well out there.”

With the top line working at full strength, the Golden Eagles are focused on the last three games of the season. They face off against Cortland on Friday, Feb.9, before returning home to play the top team in the SUNYAC, Oswego, at home. They play Geneseo, which is second in the SUNYAC, the following week. With two of the team’s three games remaining against the top two teams in the division, the wins against Morrisville became that much more important.

“We went into it feeling that both of these games and Friday are must-win games,” Dickinson said. “You don’t want to go into Oswego and Geneseo having to get four points just to have a chance.”

The Golden Eagles return to action Friday when they play Cortland before returning home for their final home game of the season against Oswego.

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