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Hockey claims final spot in SUNYAC tournament

by Carson Werner - Sports Editor
Thu, Feb 21st 2019 03:00 pm
Head coach Brian Dickinson (left) and assistant coach Chris Luker (right) try to amp up the team during intermission in Friday's game against Geneseo.
Head coach Brian Dickinson (left) and assistant coach Chris Luker (right) try to amp up the team during intermission in Friday's game against Geneseo.

With the way the Brockport hockey team opened its 2018-2019 campaign, it seemed as if the Golden Eagles were bound for the postseason from the start. Brockport was on a hot streak that stretched from Halloween to Thanksgiving, going 7—1—1 over that span. Fast forward to the end of the season and the Golden Eagles find themselves entering the playoffs as the last seed, holding a conference record of 7—7—2.

Of the seven wins the team totaled, five of them were against the eliminated teams; Cortland, Potsdam and Morrisville. Of the six teams that made the playoffs, Brockport only managed two wins, both coming from the fourth seed Buffalo State. This leaves Brockport with an 0—6—2 record against four of the top five teams in the playoffs. To win the tournament, the team will need to overcome some challenges that it was unable to during the regular season.

One of the potential opponents is the second ranked DIII team, Geneseo. The green and gold wrapped up its regular season on Friday, Feb. 15 with a loss to the Knights by a score of 6-3. The two teams had met at Geneseo earlier in the season, where Brockport was shut out in the midst of a three-game losing streak. In a final test before playoffs, the Golden Eagles put up a more competitive and spirited match against the first seeded Knights.

Known for its explosive offense and consistent powerplay, Brockport knew it was going to be on its heels for most of the game. Halfway through the opening period, Geneseo was able to strike twice only minutes apart to take a quick lead. Brockport wouldn’t find the net until the beginning of the second period where the two sides would trade goals until the score was 5-2. In the third period, the green and gold were able to score once on the powerplay, but that was followed up by a Knight goal two minutes later.

Leading the conference in goals, assists, power-play-percentage, penalty kill percentage and goals-against percentage, Geneseo is undoubtedly the favorite to win the tournament. Despite losing by a three-goal margin, Brockport had a much better showing this time compared to the game between the two earlier in the season. If the Golden Eagles are to run into Geneseo again, the team will have to put a maximum effort towards preventing the Knights from finding the back of the net.

However, Brockport’s first task in the SUNYAC tournament is the third seeded Plattsburgh State Cardinals. During the season’s two game series, Plattsburgh won one, 4-1, and the two tied the other, 1-1. Junior forward Hunter Laslo is entering the playoffs for the second time in his third season but has yet to face the Cardinals in the postseason. Through his years of experience he’s had against the SUNYAC opponent, he fulfills his duties as captain by giving the team insight on what it might see on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

“We can expect a full effort out of Plattsburgh,” Laslo said. “They’re going to come to play for a full 60 minutes. Their crowd will be loud, so we need to set the tone and pace of the game from the first puck drop. If we can stay out of the penalty box we will have great success.”

Plattsburgh is entering the first round on a win streak of four games, only conceding four goals over the stretch. Within the conference, the Cardinals are second in penalty killing and save percentage, reflecting their defensive style of play. Throughout his twenty plus years in the SUNYAC, head coach Brian Dickinson has become well acquainted with Plattsburgh.

“Plattsburgh will be a very defensive minded team that plays for its breaks offensively but really concentrates on its team defense first,” Dickinson said. “Their coach always preaches to them that they need to be prepared to play a 1-0 hockey game. We need to be patient and not get frustrated if the puck doesn’t go in early. We also need to grind out a solid 60 minute defensive game as I believe the longer the game stays close, the more the pressure will mount on them.”

Brockport will travel to Plattsburgh to face the Cardinals in the first round of playoffs on Wednesday, Feb 20 at 7:00 p.m. 

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Taken by Vinny Croce:
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