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Ice hockey faces top competition in preseason games

by Carson Werner - Staff Writer
Tue, Oct 29th 2019 09:00 pm
Junior Ryan Romeo has control of the puck on Saturday, Oct. 26 against Elmira College.
Junior Ryan Romeo has control of the puck on Saturday, Oct. 26 against Elmira College.

A year after The College at Brockport ice hockey team registered its most wins since 2010, the Golden Eagles’ capabilities were put to the test against one of the best teams in the nation. Hobart College, ranked fifth nationally at the start of the season, visited Brockport for an exhibition game to shake off the rust before the regular season begins. 

“Exhibition games are a great way to get back into game shape,” senior forward Doc Gentzler said. “We are able to use these games as a learning experience, we knew mistakes were going to happen. Our mindset as a team was to learn from our mistakes to prepare for SUNYAC play next weekend.” 

The Golden Eagles had their work cut out for them with the Statesmen coming into town. After finishing in the Frozen Four last year, Hobart’s expectations for this season sit no less than repeating the accomplishment, particularly because of its talented roster. The Statesmen lost six seniors following the conclusion of last year’s postseason run, but only one of them finished top five on the team in points scored. With that in mind, Brockport entered the match with nothing to lose. 

It only took 41 seconds after the puck dropped for Hobart to score its first goal of the season. Six minutes later, it netted its second. Using two powerplay chances, Brockport outshot Hobart 9-7 in the first 20 minutes of action but could not sneak anything past the opposing goaltender.  

“Staying positive, confident and loose,” sophomore forward Jordan Renaud said regarding the key to playing Hobart. “We have freshmen playing their first actual games as a college player and we weren’t going to be shell-shocked just because a good team was playing well. Just keep grinding away, shift by shift, and we got better as the game went on.”

The second period began with another Statesmen goal, this time on the powerplay, to give them a 3-0 lead. The goal, however, would be the last of the unanswered as senior captain Connor Hutchins put Brockport on the board, using assists from sophomore forward Jeremy Solat and freshman forward Kevin Mainello. 

Hobart added another tally in the third period before Brockport struck back with two of its own to keep the game close. With just over three minutes left in the game, Renaud made it 4-2 on a feed from Hutchins. Sophomore forward Trevor Pray decreased the deficit to one 40 seconds later on assists from senior forward Hunter Laslo and junior defenseman Tyler Williams.

The Golden Eagles pulled their goalie for the final minute and a half but were unable to tie it up on a few last second chances. 

“Hobart came out of the gates fast,” Gentzler said. “I think once we settled in, we calmed down and played with more confidence. I was proud of the team for competing until the final buzzer.”

Despite the result, taking the fifth ranked team in the nation down to the wire is an accomplishment on its own. Brockport has been unable to beat Hobart in six matchups since 2009, but this year’s 4-3 loss ended as the closest matchup in the history of the series. 

The Golden Eagles currently have seven freshman comprised of three forwards, three defensemen and a goalie on the roster for the 2019-2020 season. The squad lost three seniors after last year, including program career shutout leader, goalie Jake Moore. Although Brockport relied heavily on some quality performances from Moore last season, the team has three capable goalies to fill the role. 

Senior Matt Schneider will more than likely find himself between the pipes in most games this year. Schneider finished last year with a save percentage of .890 with two wins and two losses over ten games played. The backup, junior Sean Lincoln, appeared in three games last year, picking up two wins and conceding just one goal. Freshman Aidan Curry, who is still looking to make an impression, turned away eight shots in his collegiate debut during the second period of the Hobart game. 

“The aspect of the team that has impressed us the most has been our goaltending,” Renaud said. “Our goals against have been strictly team breakdowns and not our goalies’ faults.”

Brockport will face off against Plattsburgh State on the road on Friday, Nov. 1 for its regular season opener. The Cardinals ended the Golden Eagles’ season last year in the SUNYAC tournament quarterfinals.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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