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Hockey team stays confident with six wins in nine games

by Justin Maybach - Contributing Writer
Wed, Feb 6th 2019 05:00 pm
Freshman forward Mitchell Parsons rips a shot on net during a game against Geneseo. Parsons is leading the team in goals on the season with eight.
Freshman forward Mitchell Parsons rips a shot on net during a game against Geneseo. Parsons is leading the team in goals on the season with eight.
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Over the course of a long winter break, the Brockport Golden Eagles men’s ice hockey team continued playing with an attitude full of grit and resilience that rivaled the first half of the season. 

That attitude has attributed positive results. With only three games remaining in the regular season, Brockport has all but clinched a spot in the SUNYAC playoffs. Since the Golden Eagles failed to qualify for the postseason last year, getting back in sends a message that the program is trending in the right direction.

In the weekend before fall final exams, Brockport played two games that ended with a score of 4–0. They were defeated by the No. 2 SUNY Geneseo Knights in a tough road matchup on Friday, Dec. 7. They got the oppurtunity to retaliate on Saturday, Dec. 8 with a win at home over the Anna Maria College Amcats at the Tuttle North Ice Arena. 

The 2019 portion of the schedule commenced with four straight games on home ice, three of which were non-conference matchups. Senior goaltender Jake Moore considered the games over winter break to be an important introduction to the second half of the season. 

“Being able to focus on just hockey for a couple of weeks gave the guys some time to mesh and I feel that we’re closer as a team now than during the fall because of that,” Moore said.

After a 2–0 loss to the Stevenson University Mustangs on Friday, Jan. 11, Brockport’s offense lit the lamps repeatedly in a 7–3 win over the Lebanon Valley College Flying Dutchmen on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Golden Eagles followed up with a 3–0 victory over the SUNY Canton Roos on Tuesday, Jan. 15 and a 4–2 triumph over the Buffalo State College Bengals on Friday, Jan. 18. 

Brockport hit the road on Tuesday, Jan. 22 for a matchup against the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils. The game ended up being played three days after the originally scheduled date due to a snowstorm in the area. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 14 in the nation at the time and held a 4–2 lead over the Golden Eagles with 12 minutes left to play. Brockport demonstrated tremendous perseverance and struck back with goals from Jeremy Solat and Ryan Romeo to force overtime, where both teams settled for a 4–4 tie. 

Despite having to settle for one point, the Golden Eagles built off the momentum from Tuesday on home ice as they shutout the SUNY Potsdam Bears 3–0 on Friday, Jan. 25, which marked the fourth shutout of the season for Brockport’s goaltender, Moore. With a fourth under his belt, Moore surpassed Todd Sheridan for the most shutouts by a Golden Eagle netminder in a single season. 

Brockport junior center and captain Connor Hutchins had positive remarks regarding Moore’s play in recent weeks.

“Jake has been in a zone this year and it’s been really good,” Hutchins said. “He’s been dialed in since the beginning and it’s given the rest of us confidence knowing that we have him to bail us out every now and then.”

On Saturday, Jan. 26, Brockport couldn’t keep up with the Plattsburgh State Cardinals and suffered a 4–1 loss at home. However, the Golden Eagles retaliated once again with back-to-back road victories against the Morrisville State Mustangs. Brockport dominated the score sheet both nights, winning 6–1 on Friday, Feb. 2 and 5–1 on Saturday, Feb. 3.

The young rookies on the roster are a big part of the success for the Golden Eagles as of late. Among them is freshman forward Mitchell Parsons, who is currently second on the team in scoring with eight goals and eight assists. He has felt more and more confident as the season progresses, especially with the veteran leadership presence in Hutchins and Moore.

“I expect they will continue to keep doing all they can for this team as we strive toward a SUNYAC championship,” Parsons said.

In these past two months, the Golden Eagles compiled a record of 7—2—1 while improving their record to 14—6—2 overall and 6—5—2 in conference play. Hutchins has amassed six goals and seven assists over this stretch and currently leads his team with 24 points, but in his mind it’s all about how everyone plays together rather than trying to have the best statistics.

“It just comes down to everybody putting the team’s success above their own,” Hutchins commented. “Everybody has bought in and everybody realizes how important these games are down the stretch. It has been a playoff mentality since we have been back from break.”

Head coach Brian Dickinson has constructed a team that takes pride in its chemistry as all four lines seem to be working as one larger function. With the team contributing from all ends of the ice, the team’s main focus can now shift to earning a higher seed in the playoffs.

“We put together seven solid efforts over the break and with this past weekends sweep of Morrisville we’ve put ourselves in a very good spot in terms of qualifying for the SUNYAC playoffs,” Dickinson said.

Brockport is currently in fourth place in the SUNYAC standings with 14 points and can officially clinch a playoff spot with a win over the SUNY Oswego Lakers this Friday, Feb. 8. However, the Golden Eagles can also clinch if both Potsdam and SUNY Cortland fail to win their games.

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Taken by Vinny Croce:
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