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Hockey team on the hunt for a playoff spot

by Lou Venditti
Tue, Feb 13th 2018 09:00 pm
The Brockport hockey team (above) waits in line for the first period to begin. Despite having trouble with finding consistancy, the Golden Eagles are still searching for a spot in this year's SUNYAC tournament. The team will have to capitalize and win its next games in order to have a chance.
The Brockport hockey team (above) waits in line for the first period to begin. Despite having trouble with finding consistancy, the Golden Eagles are still searching for a spot in this year's SUNYAC tournament. The team will have to capitalize and win its next games in order to have a chance.

The College at Brockport hockey team had another rough weekend, and it very well may have cost them a playoff spot. After losing in Cortland 7-3, the Golden Eagles returned home only to be shut down 4-1 by the Oswego Lakers. Both of the losses came against SUNYAC conference opponents, and the team only has one game remaining.

Coming into the weekend, the Golden Eagles were sitting pretty at fourth in the SUNYAC with 11 points. This weekend just made things tighter; however, with Plattsburgh and Potsdam both winning games to pass the Golden Eagles and earn their 12th point in the conference, the Golden Eagles dropped to sixth in the conference, hanging onto the last playoff spot by a thread before they go into Geneseo next weekend to try and clinch a spot. Had the Golden Eagles won just once this weekend, they would likely have already clinched the playoff spot. Alas.

On Friday against Cortland, the Golden Eagles fell flat. After giving up the first goal, junior center Tim Kielich scored to tie the game. Then, Cortland scored four straight goals. It was 5-1 to start the third period before the Golden Eagles tried battling back, eventually falling 7-3. Sophomore goaltender Matt Schneider was pulled after allowing the fifth goal, and junior goaltender Jake Moore came on in relief.

Against Oswego, nothing went the Golden Eagle’s way. Oswego, who is first in the SUNYAC and ranked fourth in the nation, scored two goals in the first seven minutes of play on just three shots on goal. For the second weekend in a row, sophomore goaltender Matt Schneider came out cold on the second half of a back-to-back. 

After a tough first period, the Golden Eagles tried to claw their way back into the game with help from a power play goal off the stick of senior defenseman Brandon McMartin. The entire team picked up the pace, playing an edgier, more aggressive style than they have all season, but it ended up being too little, too late for the entire team.

“Other than just coming out sloppy in the first period, we played with them,” head coach Brian Dickinson said. “All in all, I thought it was a great effort. Unfortunately, when you’re in a tight league like we are, moral victories don’t get it done. It was a tough game to not get any points from.”

It was one of the chippiest games of the season for the Golden Eagles, but the box score might not show it. There was a certain familiarity between the two teams and plenty of chirping to go around. Four Golden Eagles combined for 12 penalty minutes, including senior wide winger Zac Sikich taking back-to-back roughing calls.

“I want him to play on the edge,” Dickinson said. “It brings the best out in him, but he’s gotta keep it under control. I thought the first penalty he took was a bad call. He had just finished his check and it was a hockey play. The second one, when you come out of the box and get right back into it, they’re looking for that stuff.”

The home game against Oswego was the last home game for seven seniors on the team, including captain Aidan Verbeke. 

“Obviously we would’ve liked to win in the playoff picture and us seniors going out the door, but it was a good battle,” Verbeke said. “Moral victories don’t count towards the end of the year. We just have to learn from it and come out stronger next week.”

The stage is set, and the last game of the season is under a week away. The Golden Eagles will travel to Geneseo to face off against the seventh–ranked team in the nation. With seven seniors looking to make it to the playoffs in their final season, the stakes are higher than they’ve been for the team.

“It’s exciting, they’re our rival,” Dickinson said. “Not a lot of motivation needs to be had from a coaching standpoint. There’s seven guys in the locker room that could be playing their last collegiate game, and nobody ever wants to lose their last collegiate game. It’s a great rivalry and we’re excited for a really good battle.”

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