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Ice hockey closes out regular season with near-upset

by Carson Werner - Staff Writer
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 12:00 pm
Senior Matt Schneider leads his team out onto the ice against Geneseo. Schneider became the program's all-time leader in wins as a goaltender on Tuesday, Feb. 18, against SUNY Cortland. Schneider has 30 career wins.
Senior Matt Schneider leads his team out onto the ice against Geneseo. Schneider became the program's all-time leader in wins as a goaltender on Tuesday, Feb. 18, against SUNY Cortland. Schneider has 30 career wins.

Toward the end of the regular season, The College at Brockport ice hockey team found itself in the midst of a seven-team battle for playoff positioning. The Golden Eagles’ initial goal of making the playoffs turned to acquiring home ice for the first round, a rare occurrence for the program. After sealing home ice advantage with a 3-2 win over SUNY Cortland on Tuesday, Feb. 18, the focus switched to overtaking Buffalo State College for third place in the SUNYAC. With one opportunity remaining, Brockport’s only chance was to go through the second-ranked team in Division III hockey and first seed in the conference, SUNY Geneseo.  

The Knights proved their power with a 4-goal first period, all while holding Brockport to five shots. Geneseo scored its first two goals on seven shots on net. In the second half of the period, the Golden Eagles ran into some penalty trouble and allowed two more tallies from the opposition. 

Junior forward Ethan Solat got Brockport on the board with a power-play goal 6:49 into the second period. Geneseo followed that up with two additional tallies to push the score to 6-1, but sophomore forward Jeremy Solat found the back of the net with 30 seconds left in the period to trim the deficit to four. 

In the final 10 minutes of action, sophomore forward Jake Colosanti registered his team-leading 10th goal of the season and Ethan Solat scored his second of the night. Down 6-4, Brockport saw its last minute chances slip away by taking penalties on the man-advantage. 

Senior forward Connor Hutchins finished the game with two assists, while Ethan Solat added one to his two tallies. Senior forward Doc Gentzler, senior forward Hunter Laslo and sophomore forward Jordan Renaud all collected an assist apiece. 

Before the Geneseo matchup, senior goalie Matthew Schneider set the program record for career wins during the victory over Cortland. Over a 4-year span, the netminder accumulated 30 wins to surpass Todd Sheridan’s record of 29 during the 2006-10 seasons.

“I’m proud,” Schneider said. “To be a member of this organization and to have a piece in history; it’s an honor. Winning in hockey takes a full team, so I’m thankful for my teammates. We have a great group of guys.”

From his freshman to junior year, he split a lot of time with former goalie Jake Moore. Now in his senior season, Schneider’s taken full control of the lead role and has led his team to its first home playoff game in 10 years.

“From freshman year to now there’s been a constant drive to get better each day at practice and get better every year,” Schneider said. “I think that desire to get better has had a major influence on my game.”

Schneider’s career record currently stands at 30—26—1 and he has a save percentage of .896. Four of his 30 victories came via shutout. So far this year, Schneider has constructed his most successful season, going 13—8—1 with two shutouts and a save percentage of .898. He’s just one victory away from tying the program’s single-season win record.

“Schneider is a phenomenal goaltender and comes up big in big games,” Colosanti said. “Not to mention, Schneider is one of the hardest working guys off the ice, pushing everyone around him to be better day in and day out in the weight room and so forth. We’re a family and we build off each other.” 

The first round of playoffs will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. for the Golden Eagles. They will face the #5 seed, Plattsburgh State, a team they’ve beaten twice this season.

If Brockport had defeated Geneseo and snagged third place, the Golden Eagles would’ve been in line to play sixth seeded SUNY Potsdam, a team they’re 1—1 against this year. The winner of the Buffalo State-Potsdam game will advance to play Geneseo, while the winner of Brockport-Plattsburgh will take on Oswego. Although Brockport didn’t claim the third seed, it may be more beneficial for the green and gold to finish in fourth. 

“We just need to have a very solid couple days of practice up until the big day, and I know we will,” Colosanti said. “Everyone has a clear understanding of what we want to accomplish this year, and that’s to win a SUNYAC championship for this program. This group of guys around me are hungrier than ever to walk into Wednesday night and take what’s ours.”

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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