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Defense freezes as ice hockey drops two games

by Carson Werner - Staff Writer
Tue, Dec 3rd 2019 03:00 pm
Junior Casey Winn handles the puck against the boards against Skidmore College on Saturday, Nov. 30. Brockport lost both games this past weekend.
Junior Casey Winn handles the puck against the boards against Skidmore College on Saturday, Nov. 30. Brockport lost both games this past weekend.

Around the time Thanksgiving rolls around, The College at Brockport ice hockey team is usually preparing for its annual invitation to Castleton, Vermont for the WSYB Catamount Radio Tournament. Last season the Golden Eagles feasted at the Invitational, defeating Anna Maria College in the first round and Castleton University for the championship. This year, the team switched up routes and traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York for the Skidmore Thanksgiving Invitational.

Brockport’s last time participating in the Skidmore Tournament was in 2011, when it tied Hamilton College and downed Nichols College in the consolation game. Even though Brockport has played in the tournament in years past, the match on Saturday was its first time seeing Skidmore on the opposite end of the ice in 11 years. 

The current 5—2—1 Thoroughbreds did not stand as easy opposition for the Golden Eagles, despite dropping two of their last three. 

Brockport snagged the early lead five minutes into the game on senior forward Hunter Laslo’s first goal of the year. Junior forward Danny Rock and senior defenseman Chris Pollini picked up assists on the play. Three minutes later, Skidmore retaliated with the equalizer and the go-ahead goal 11 seconds later. The Thoroughbreds were able to add another to its lead before the end of the first period, making it 3-1. 

The Golden Eagles trimmed the deficit to one in the second period on a powerplay goal from junior defenseman Ryan Romeo. However, a shorthanded goal before the end of the second doubled the lead once again. 

Skidmore capped off the game with an empty-net tally and downed Brockport 5-3 for its first win of the tournament. The squad would go on to defeat Tufts University to take the championship of the invitational.

In the consolation game on Sunday, Dec. 1, Brockport and Buffalo State University found themselves facing off for a second consecutive weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 23, the Bengals shut out the Golden Eagles on home ice on Youth Hockey Night. 

Buffalo State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first and increased it to 4-0 halfway through the second. Two of the Bengals’ goals came on a powerplay from each side. The shorthanded tally was the second one of the weekend against Brockport and its third of the season. 

In the second, Brockport began to find its offensive rhythm against Buffalo State. However, for every goal the Golden Eagles strung together, the Bengals had an immediate answer for it. 

Sophomore forward Jordan Renaud erased the chance of another Buffalo State shutout with just over five minutes remaining in the second. Renaud later assisted on Romeo’s tally three minutes into the third to cut the score to 5-2, while Laslo added his second of the weekend to split the deficit, 6-3. The Bengals managed to add another before the conclusion of the game, making the final score 7-3. Rock finished with two assists in the game as well.

Brockport’s defense was uncharacteristically poor at the Skidmore Thanksgiving Invitational. It allowed 12 goals over the two games and, according to junior defenseman Casey Winn, did not play smart.

“Mental mistakes and not working away from the puck to pick up open guys allowed for those goals,” Winn said. “Things that are easily fixable. We just have to get back to basics and play our systems. When we play our game, we as a team know we are capable of playing with anyone.”

Currently on a three game losing skid, Brockport’s upcoming schedule does not make it easy for the team to pull out of the slump. On Friday, Dec. 6, the team will hit the road to take on SUNY Geneseo. The 7—2—1 Knights are a dangerous team and ranked #2 in the country. In order for Brockport to come away with a victory, it will need to get better in all aspects to take down the perennial powerhouse it squares off with next.

“We’re not good enough right now,” Renaud said. “We need to wake up and be tougher in every aspect of our game. We had an embarrassing weekend, in all honesty, and we need to focus on this statement game Friday night.”

Brockport’s matchup with Geneseo will be its final of 2019. The Golden Eagles will take a break for the holidays and resume their scheduled games on Friday, Jan. 3, against Neumann University (Pennsylvania).

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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