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Golden Eagles clinch win against SUNY Canton

by Alison Maurer-Advertising Manager
Tue, Jan 31st 2017 11:00 pm
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/Photo editor
Photos taken by Emma Misiaszek/Photo editor

The Golden Eagles men's ice hockey Team is currently ninth in the SUNYAC standings with a record of 9-10-1 after a 4-2 win in Canton last Saturday.

This year's team is very close-knit. Despite it being a young team, with six freshmen and three new sophomore transfers, the boys have created close friendships on and off the ice.

"We all kinda hang out together, do our homework together at the library. This team is a pretty tight group of guys," freshman goalie Matt Schneider said.

Sophomore Jamie Lukas attributes the camaraderie to shared goals, "This group of guys is really mature. Usually the younger guys let loose a little bit, it's their first time on their own, but this year everyone's in the same mindset of winning the championship."

A benefit to the slew of newbies is the versatility within the games. The team has been experimenting with the potential for different lineups and defensemen pairs.

"We try to get everyone involved, get some new men going on the PK (penalty kill) team, and try out some new combos," Head Coach Brian Dickinson said.

"I feel like we're a very versatile team, it just takes a couple shifts to get to know each other and we're good to go," Lukas, a forward, said.

Brian Hurlimann on defense agrees, "I play with whoever they put me with, and hopefully I come out with a win that day. I like to build some chemistry with a d-man, but whatever works best for the team is what we're gonna do."

The first half of the season involved a lot of away games, and for the boys, a lot of time on the bus. They go all over, to Massachusetts, Vermont and of course to all of the other SUNY schools. The away games create a bit of a disconnect between the men on the team. Thankfully, the Spring holds more home games, something that should hold to be advantageous.

"Our first semester, we had so many road games, we didn't have as much time to get to know each other outside of the rink," Alternate Captain Dylan Shapiro said. "It helps now that we can be home more and can see each other after. It makes for a better chance to bond with the team."

Dickinson agrees, "I thought it was important for our team this year, we're so young that getting some camaraderie in the second half of the season can really make the difference. The schedule really sets it up for us. If we can take care of home ice, good things will happen for us."

The team this year is very different from last year. Nine men from the team graduated last May, including the three captains, John Demme, Jeremy DiFazio and Chad Cummings. This year's captains, Aidan Verbeke, Dylan Shapiro and Rob Hall all bring new things to the table.

"It's actually really interesting. All three of the captains this year are American. Last year they were all Canadian," Verbeke said. It's not only the nationality of the captains that's different but also the way they use their leadership roles.

"I think we're different from last year's guys. Aidan really gets respected when he speaks, he can make things make sense. Hallsy's probably the most likable guy on the team. Nobody's gonna have a problem with him — ever," Shapiro said. "I try to work really hard. I might be goofy sometimes, but at the end of the day, I try to let my work ethic speak for itself."

An example of thisgoofinessis the "will-over-skill hat," a white cowboy hat passed on from teammate to teammate when they have an exceptional game.

"It's just something fun to lighten the mood," Shapiro said.  People want to pass on the hat. It's something to rally around," Everyone enjoys it. It's more of a camaraderie."

"Usually When guys get their first goal, or first milestone," Verbeke said, "It's up to the guy who had it before to decide who gets it next. Usually it's a pretty easy decision."

One of the more obvious choices for the will-over-skill hat happened at the end of the fall semester. The boys, with Matt Schneider in goal, did what once seemed impossible—they shut out Plattsburgh 2-0 on the road.

"It was one of the best bus rides back that I can remember," Verbeke said. It was definitely exciting and emotional. It was the first time our coach won there, and it was a freshman goalie who got the shutout,"  

"Freshman year, we lost both games [against Plattsburgh], last year we tied both, and this year we won, so it's a really interesting build-up,"  junior foward Shapiro.

The excitement took the team into the long Winter break. The team took off nearly a month to go home and see their families, possibly losing the burst of momentum that the semester left off on. The boys all had their own ways of keeping their heads in the game, but coming back after a break is always tough.

"First things first, we had to get them in shape," Dickinson said, Four weeks is a long time to be off, this is as late as we've come back in a long time,"  "Now it's just a lot of touches of the puck and get them to the front of the net."

Despite the coaches working them hard when they came back, their momentum did take a bit of a hit going into the first weekend of conference play. After a few non-conference games to bring the boys back up to speed, they headed into Oswego to face the Lakers who stand solidly as #1 in the SUNYAC standings.

The Golden Eagles lost 10-1. They refused to pack it in, however, and came back the very next day with an important win at home against Cortland.

"I thought it said a lot about us that we came back from such a loss and turned it around the next day. We got up, stopped feeling sorry for ourselves, did some video and put together a win," Shapiro said.

Senior Jake Taylor had an exceptional game on home ice. He scored his first college hat trick.

"It was a team effort," Taylor said.  "I just got in the right places at the right times. We're hoping to keep building off that. This was a must-win for us."

Before the game, Cortland and Brockport were tied for fourth in the SUNYAC standings. The green and gold win pushed the team into a much more comfortable position to enter the playoffs and make a run for the title.

"It's anybody's league to win. We've shown that we can step up and be that team to make it to the top,"  Dickinson said.

This week was the first week of classes, which poses a new set of problems for the team.

"Everyone's pretty competitive on our team," Hall said. "Not everybody gets to be in the lineup, so at practices everyone's trying to keep their job. It helps everyone stay at their best. I think that competitiveness is what will help us in the playoffs."

Friday Feb. 3, the Golden Eagles host their rivals, the SUNY Geneseo Knights at 7 p.m.


amaur2@brockport.edu