Friday, October 20, 2017

The Twenty-Five Year Team: First Team picks



This season marks my twenty-fifth following the team.

Because of that 25 year appreciation for this great sport and great college, I often get asked: “who are some of the best players you’ve ever seen?”

That’s a tough one.

Over that quarter century I’ve seen some pretty remarkable players take the ice. As a matter of fact, each one is remarkable in his own way – in a brotherhood like hockey, everyone contributes something some way, somehow. That’s what makes it the ultimate team sport.

But, there are some guys who stood out and provided an extra level of excitement, some guys who will one day adorn the Brockport Athletics Hall of Fame.

Below is my First Team. I will announce the Second Team in the coming days.  

Some of the gents played the whole four seasons. Some may have spent just one with the Golden Eagles. Others might have had just one breakout year. Anyway you put it, they left a lasting impression on this fan, the team, and the Brockport community.

FIRST TEAM

Forward: James Cody (2008-2009 through 2011-2012). James was, in my opinion and likely that of many others, the most exciting player to ever have laced up his skates at Tuttle North. And, for sure, we will never see anyone like him again. The man could score, ranking sixth all-time at Brockport with 116 points thanks to a 60-56-116 line. Every season he exceeded 24 points. He could do that with speed and unmatched physicality and strength. Those assets also made him the most feared hitter ever at Brockport as he leveled many, many opponents with open ice hits and checks (you will never see that again in the modern or future NCAA). He was the program’s first-ever All-American and the SUNYAC Player of the Year when he had a 19-15-34 line. He was a pure athlete who could have excelled in any sport he wanted to focus on. Thank God he chose hockey. 

James Cody destroyed Postdam in 2 playoff games, just as he did every team he faced

Forward: Dave McNab (2006-2007 through 2008-2009). Dave spent two-a-half seasons with Brockport after having started his career at Plattsburgh. He took advantage of his playing time and become captain as a senior. It is that final season that puts him on the all-time team. He was the ultimate team captain. Sure, Brockport has had many fine ones, but he took it to another level: If opponents tangled with our goalies he would obliterate (or choke) them, he was in constant professional discussion with the refs, and he inspired the team to become physical like no other. That season and the season that followed were the most physical of all our teams (and likely the last due to newer NCAA rules) and they truly intimidated opponents. It was old time hockey at its finest. But, don’t let that tough exterior fool you – Dave is a nice guy and a skilled player. In that captaincy he had 26 points and 11 goals courtesy of a wicked slapshot that was expertly played out in power play situations.

Forward: Bobby Garrison (1996-1997 to 1999-2000): The numbers tell the story. Bobby is the all-time leader in points (156), goals (72), assists (84) and power play goals (26). He was 175 pounds of bottled lightning – fast and elusive with unparalleled vision. He was a human highlight reel which makes it too bad that he played just a few years before the internet, smartphones, and modern videography came to be. He was SUNYAC Rookie of the Year and a two-time member of All-SUNYAC Squads. If Brockport wasn’t coming out of its lean years during his reign of terror on opposing defenses, he likely would have received more accolades and All-American consideration. To put his greatness into context consider this: Fans of recent years are familiar with Chase Nieuwendyk’s absolutely brilliant career and his 101 point career total. Garrison’s output was 56% higher. It’s almost unfathomable to think about that. 

Defenseman: Chris Luker (2012-2013 through 2015-2016): During the last 3 years of his Brockport career I gave the young man plenty of coverage on the hockey blog. Why? He was that good. He was an excellent rangy defenseman who became Brockport’s only 3-time All-SUNYAC honoree. He has what is the most magical offensive output of any Golden Eagle blueliner. He had seasons of 22, 23, and 17 points – output you would expect from a first or second line forward, not a defenseman. He was a joy to watch, not only for his firepower but his consistency…he rarely had cold patches or hot hands – he wasn’t streaky at all; every game was a consistently excellent as the previous. That’s what you want from a d-man.

Defenseman: Mike Gershon (2005-2006 through 2008-2009): Mike was the lead blueliner on my favorite squad (the 2008-2009 team, which I will discuss in a future post). Hard hitting. Focused. Brilliant. Those words define his junior and senior years, which is why he was All-SUNYAC in his last year. That season, he also did the unprecedented: When did you ever hear of a defenseman having a hat trick? The senior year 8-9-17 stat line with 57 penalty minutes shows the explosiveness (skill-wise and physically) he brought to the ice. He would absolutely punish opponents in the corners. His hitting was textbook, too – I imagine every time he laid into someone he thought of himself going through them.   

Todd Sheridan beat cancer and became the greatest goalie in Brockport history

Goalie: Todd Sheridan (2006-2007 through 2009-2010): Todd is without a doubt the greatest goalie in Brockport history and some could argue its greatest player, too, if not it’s most important. Every major career goaltending record belongs to him: Goals against average (3.07), save percentage (.904), wins (29) and shutouts (5). He gave the team confidence to do anything they wanted offensively in front of him, because he had the attitude and performance (from textbook saves to Hasek-like freakish plays) to stymie the toughest of opponents and get into their heads. He was transformative, too, being instrumental in helping the College’s program develop a high-profile name for itself (which aided in recruiting, filling the stands and maintaining greatness). It’s not a coincidence that so many excellent goalies – and playoff years-- have come after his successful run. He paved the way. On top of that, as a player, the cancer survivor initiated the Saves For a Cure charity that gave tens of thousands of dollars to local cancer clinics for children.



 

2017-2018 Season Preview: Eight is Enough


In the 2007-2008 season, twelve seniors took to the ice. It was one of the largest senior classes in memory.

Fast forward ten years, and the 2017-2018 campaign will be close to that.

This year, 8 seniors will be playing for the Golden Eagles.

The most golden of the Golden Eagles are an accomplished bunch who are salivating for a trip to the SUNYAC Championship.

These playoff-tested men have tried.

Last year, they lost to Geneseo in the first round.

As sophomores, they fell to Oswego in round one.

As freshmen, they got past Geneseo to advance to the second round, only to lose to Plattsburgh.

With all the experience under their belt and some incredibly gifted underclassmen to support them, their last hurrah could be their best.

Let’s look take a look at some of those seniors and their supporting cast:




Forwards



Brockport’s offensive output placed them at 29th of 78 in Division III thanks to an average of 3.31 goals per game. A major boost to those numbers came from an all-world power play unit. That 7th ranked unit was successful 25% of the time!

There’s some serious firepower on the team.

Senior Captain Aidan Verbeke had a great 10-13-23 line and led the team in penalty minutes with 42, which shows the hard, physical edge that he brings to the ice. A 30-point season could be in the works for him.

Zac Sikich's speed could lead to a dozen goals this year


Fellow seniors Dylan Shapiro & Zac Sikich are two peas in a pod. How similar are these men? After 3 seasons together both have averaged exactly .53 points per game! Shapiro had 9 goals last season, while Sikich had 10. Both had 2 game winning goals, both had an empty netter. Both could close out their careers with 12 goal seasons.

Look for a rebound season from Ryan Kangas. As a freshman he had a 21 point season. Then, as a sophomore, he netted 12 goals. Last year, he played in just 11 games and had 4 points. Expect the senior to go back to the output of earlier in his NCAA career.

Those oldsters are supported by guys like Tim Kielich and Connor Hutchins. 

After a monster freshman campaign (12-19-31), Kielich did not suffer a sophomore slump. While his goal total dropped to 3, he was still a playmaker, getting 23 helpers last season and ranking among the national leaders in that category. Two of his goals came in the decisive last weekend of play when they were needed most. He was such a threat to make things happen that SUNYAC coaches voted him into Third Team All-SUNYAC at the close of the season. He could surpass 30 points again.

Sophomore Hutchins had a rookie season for the ages. At the close of the regular season, Hutchins was third in the nation in power play goals with 8 (the leader had 10) among his total 12 goals that were accompanied by 15 assists. He ended up 15th in the country for points-per-game by a freshman last season. His 12 goals were the most for a rookie Golden Eagle in 20 years. We could be witnessing a special talent capable of getting 18 to 20 goals a season.




Defensemen and goaltenders



Brockport’s defense came in at 66th in the nation allowing 3.85 goals per game but it improved dramatically in the second half when the team had its back to the wall in the playoff race.

Expect big things from senior Brian Hurlimann. He had plus/minus of +3. He also surprised with some firepower, sporting a 4-5-9 line besting his career totals of 2-1-3. He’s a physical player who makes superstar forwards regret entering his territory. Don’t be surprised if he gets All-SUNYAC looks this year and picks up 15 points.

Junior blueliner Bryan Carville is an excellent defensive player. He had 10 points last year, which are solid for a defenseman’s defenseman. He led the team in plus/minus with a +5 and he’s looking like someone who could entertain All-SUNYAC honors this year and next. He can really hang with the deep lines we’ve seen out of Oswego and Geneseo.

Connor Bass is graceful blueliner with excellent vision


Look for big things from Connor Bass. The junior from Alberta was picked for the SUNYAC’s all-rookie team as a freshman and he did not disappoint as a sophomore, blocking shots, keeping his penalty minutes low and being a defenseman’s defenseman.

They are blessed to have good goaltending behind them in sophomore Matt Schneider. He’s entered into folk hero status in the hockey program. Like a modern day Paul Revere or Johnny Appleseed, he’ll always be known as “the guy who shutout the Cardinals at Plattsburgh.” That wasn’t the only highlight of a nice rookie campaign that saw him get a .903 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average while also securing the pressure cooker “must-wins” that closed out the regular season. 

Matt Schneider shutdown Plattsburgh last year. He'll do it again
   
Beyond all of the established stars, Brockport has a huge freshman class of 8 players.

There’s a common theme there.

Eight freshman.

Eight seniors.

There was a TV show in the 1970s called “Eight is Enough.”

Eight will be enough.

We have more than enough experience and more than enough young talent to make waves in the SUNYAC.

I will even go out on a limb and say these gentlemen will make it to the SUNYAC championship game this season.

Eight is enough. You can count on it.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Read with a hockey player

Members of the team will be at the Hamlin Library on Thursday, October 26 from 6:45-7:30pm. They will be reading with the storytime kids and promoting a Hamlin Library night at an upcoming hockey game! Join them and find out how kids can read to earn a free ticket to a game.

The 2017-2018 Golden Eagle roster

 1 Matt Schneider So. G6-2170Manlius, N.Y.Florida Eels (USPHL Elite)
 3 Chris Pollini So. D6-1195Wolfeboro, N.H.New Hampshire Monarchs (EHL)
 4 Bryan Carville Jr. D5-9165Rochester, N.Y.Hobart College (ECAC)
 6 David Horan Sr. F6-0190Kennebunk, MaineHartford Jr. Wolfpack (EHL)
 7 Ethan Solat Fr. F5-9165Centennial, Colo.Syracuse Stars (USPHL)
 8 Matt Meredith Sr. F6-2195Fredonia, N.Y.New Jersey Titans (EHL)
 9 Jeremy Solat Fr. F5-9170Centennial, Colo.Syracuse Stars (USPHL)
 10 Aidan Verbeke Sr. F6-0185Elmwood Park, Ill.Granite City Lumberjacks (NA3HL)
 11 Tim Kielich Jr. F6-0185East Aurora, N.Y.Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)
 12 Zac Sikich Sr. F5-11180Oak Park, Calif.Granite City Lumberjacks (NA3HL)
 13 Doc Gentzler So. F5-10150Manhattan Beach, Calif.Hartford Jr. Wolfpack (EHL)
 16 Tyler Williams Fr. D5-11185Rome, N.Y.Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (EHL)
 17 Casey WInn Fr. D6-2192Rochester, N.Y.Nepean Raiders (CCHL)
 18 Ryan Kangas Sr. F5-10175Williamstown, Mass.Hartford Jr. Wolfpack (EHL)
 19 Dylan Shapiro Sr. F6-2196Rochester, N.Y.Rochester Jr. Americans (USPHL)
 20 Danny Rock Fr. F5-9170Souderton, Pa.PAL Jr. Islanders (USPHL)
 21 Brian Hurlimann Sr. D6-1210Rochester, N.Y.Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
 22 Shane Visnick Fr. F6-1210Boca Raton, Fla.Hartford Jr. Wolfpack (EHL)
 23 Hunter Laslo So. F5-10185Birmingham, Ala.New Hampshire Monarchs (EHL)
 24 Luke Bennett So. F5-10165Rochester, N.H.New Hampshire Monarchs (EHL)
 27 Connar Bass Jr. D6-4215Calgary, ABWayWayseecappo Wolverines (MJHL)
 31 Sean Lincoln Fr. G5-11190Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.Valley Jr. Warriors (EHL)
 35 Jake Moore Jr. G5-11175Arcade, N.Y.Springfield Pics (USPHL Premier)
 58 Brandon McMartin Sr. D6-2220Toronto, Ont.Smith Falls Bears (CCHL)
 84 Connor Hutchins So. F6-0195North Richland Hills, TexasBrookings Blizzard (NAHL)
 91 Ryan Romeo Fr. F5-10180Fairport, N.Y.New Hampshire Monarchs (EHL)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Brockport tabbed to finish fourth in SUNYAC

The SUNYAC's preseason coaches' poll came out and the Golden Eagles were picked to finish 4th in the conference.

Geneseo was pegged to be the champion with 70 points. Plattsburgh came in at a close second with 69 points. Oswego came in at No. 3 with 62 points, followed by Brockport (fourth, 49 points), Fredonia (fifth, 43 points), Buffalo State (sixth, 42 points), SUNY Potsdam (seventh, 28 points), Cortland (eighth, 26 points) and Morrisville (ninth, 14 points).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Support the Golden Eagles during Movember



During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

Once registered at www.movember.com, men start Movember 1st clean shaven. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with their strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

No matter the country or city, Movember will continue to work to change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, and to act on that knowledge, thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.

This season the Golden Eagles ice hockey team have taken it upon themselves to sprout facial hair for this worthy cause. They look forward for your support!

To make a donation to the war against cancer in name of the Golden Eagles or any one of them, check out this webpage:

https://us.movember.com/team/2286099

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gotkin appointed to NCAA rules committee

Rick Gotkin -- who coaches at Mercyhurst and played for Brockport in the 1980s -- has been appointed to the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee. A great selection!

http://merciad.mercyhurst.edu/20774/sports/hockeys-gotkin-appointed-to-ncaa-rulemaking-committee/

Friday, September 1, 2017

Here comes the ice!




It's that time of the year -- Coach Dickinson and the team have been prepping the ice surface at Tuttle North!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame ceremony

If you would like to attend the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at which Brockport's EJ McGuire will be posthumously honored, here are the flier and reservation form. Click on the images to enlarge:








Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hurtchins gets the "A"



The Golden Eagles have announced that sophomore Connor Hutchins has been named alternate captain for the 2017-2018 season. He had one of the finest freshman campaigns in Brockport history, scoring 12 goals.

Monday, August 21, 2017

EJ McGuire going into Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame

Brockport Athletics Hall of Famer EJ McGuire has been posthumously elected into the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Here's a nice Buffalo News write-up about his world-class qualities as an NHL scout and a human being:

http://buffalonews.com/2017/08/19/bucky-gleason-e-j-mcguire-takes-scenic-route-old-first-ward-greater-buffalo-hall-fame/

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Winn choses Brockport



The Central Canada Hockey League is proud to announce that Nepean Raiders defenseman Casey Winn (Rochester, N.Y.) has committed to the NCAA Division-III Brockport Golden Eagles.

Winn, 20, tallied one goal and nine assists in 61 games with the Raiders last season and joins the Golden Eagles having left a positive mark on the Nepean organization.

"Casey only spent one year with the Raiders, but his impact on his teammates and the organization will last a long time," said Raiders head coach Darcy Findlay. "He's hard-working, tough to play against, and a model citizen on- and off-ice."

Winn's best offensive effort came on Sept. 21, 2016, when he tallied the game-winning goal and added an assist in Nepean's 4-1 win over the visiting Cumberland Grads.

"He's exactly what coaches look for in a player," continued Findlay. "The character of a young man goes a long way, and Brockport will now benefit from having Casey in their lineup."

Prior to joining the Raiders, Winn suited up in 50 games over two seasons with prep school Trinity Pawling (N.Y.).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hall signs with Thunderbolts

Brockport Athletics offers this excellent write-up about Rob Hall...



Rob Hall, who served as an assistant captain on The College at Brockport ice hockey team during the 2016-17 season, is continuing his playing career at the professional level. He'll be playing with the Evansville Thunderbolts of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) during the 2017-18 campaign.

Directly following the conclusion of Brockport's season, Hall knew that he wasn't ready to hang up his skates, so he made a push to land himself a roster spot on a professional team.

"As soon as our season ended I reached out to an advisor from back home and asked him if he knew of any teams looking for a defenseman," recalled Hall. "He got me in touch with the coach, and I was able to get right down there and actually played the last 11 games of their season."

One of his teammates for those 11 games was fellow Brockport graduate Chase Nieuwendyk, who played the entire season in the SPHL after graduating in 2016. Nieuwendyk adjusted quickly to the league, recording 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) across 40 games in his rookie season.

Hall also acclimated quickly to the league, dishing out three assists in his short stint with Evansville in 2016. He did, however, acknowledge that there was a definite change in level of play.

"The guys are a little bit bigger, faster, stronger, but really the speed of the game wasn't too different to what I was used to at Brockport," said Hall. "The biggest adjustment was the smarts; all the guys have really high hockey IQ and just know where to go without the puck."

One of the things that helped him prepare for that transition was his off-season training. Hall, who grew up in Schaumburg, Ill., has been training with professional hockey players for a number of years now.

"One of my best friends from back home plays in the ECHL [East Coast Hockey League], and has played in the AHL [American Hockey League] in the past," remarked Hall. "Whenever I go home I train with him and some other guys from that level, so it was definitely helpful having played with guys that speed and size before."

That extensive training certainly paid off for Hall, as his performance in the final few games of the Thunderbolts season earned him an invite back for 2017-18. Although a huge achievement in itself, Hall has even loftier goals for himself going forward.

"The next level up from the SPHL is the ECHL, but my ultimate goal is to keep climbing and just see how far I can go," said Hall.

He'll start chasing that goal on October 21, when the Thunderbolts open regular season play with a home matchup against the Peoria Rivermen.



Friday, July 7, 2017

No golf outing this year

There will not be a golf tournament to benefit Brockport hockey this year. They hope to bring it back in 2018.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Attendance was at the middle of the pack

USCHO.com has released the final 2016-2017 attendance rankings for DIII hockey.

Brockport had 12 home games attended by 4,020 people with an average attendance of 335. With a total capacity of 1,800, that puts us at 18.6% capacity.

The 335 attendees per game ranks 35th in the nation.

Come on, Brockport, we can do better -- and we have.

In the 2009-2010 season Brockport was 11th in the nation in attendance -- an average of 1,032 fans made it out to the 11 home games!

Let's make it a point to fill the stands in the 2017-2018 season.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Romeo commits to Brockport



Joseph Romeo, a defenseman for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, has committed to SUNY Brockport for the Fall of 2017.

The 21-year-old, who goes by the name of Ryan, tallied 24 points in 53 total games this past season for the Monarchs.

The EHL veteran spent the past couple seasons in New Hampshire, and now sets off to join three of his teammates from the 2015-16 team. When Romeo arrives at Brockport this Fall he will be joined by Luke Bennett, Chris Pollini, and Hunter Laslo, a trio of former Monarchs that just completed their freshmen season with the Golden Eagles.

This past season SUNY Brockport had 7 EHL alumni on their roster. The number will rise again this Fall with the arrival of Romeo, Shane Visnick (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack), and Tyler Williams (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers).

Friday, June 30, 2017

Kings to play their first game against Brockport


One of the highlights of the 2017-2018 campaign will be the season opener on Friday, October 27th at the Revolution Ice Center in Pittston, Pennsylvania. King College's hockey program will make its debut that night. There's a Brockport connection: King's first-ever coach is none other than Stephen Mallaro. Mallaro was the assistant coach at Brockport during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The 2017-2018 schedule



It’s one of this summertime moments that makes fans hunger for hockey: The 2017-2018 schedule has been released.

The full schedule can be seen in column/toolbar at the right of this webpage.

There are 12 home games which sees the usual slate of SUNYAC foes coming to town, as well as Neumann, Williams, and Nazareth. Interestingly, 4 games are matinees – that is, not a 7:00 start – with 2 occurring on Tuesdays.

Mark your calendars for these home affairs:

Saturday, October 28, 7:00: Neumann comes to town which makes for good preparation for SUNYAC play. The Knights were 16-8-3 last year.

Friday, November 3, 7:00: SUNYAC play begins with a visit by Fredonia.

Friday, November 10, 7:00: The North Country teams pay a visit to the Rochester area with Plattsburgh starting off the weekend. Remember what the Golden Eagles did to them at Plattsburgh last season?

Saturday, November 11, 4:00: A Saturday matinee sees the Postdam Bears at Tuttle North.

Friday, December 1, 7:00: Cortland is in town and it’s a must-see with Darren McCormick in his final year. He scored 21 goals last year: How can he top that huge season?   

Friday, December 8, 7:00: Our biggest rival – Geneseo -- will be on campus. The games are always hard fought and many of their fans make the 40-minute drive to egg on ours. An awesome hockey experience.  

Tuesday, January 9, 3:00: This battle with Williams might be the least-attended game of the year. Brockport will be on winter break. And, the game is at 3:00 on a work day. Let’s see what die-hards skip out of work early. The Ephs match-up well with Brockport, so it will be an exciting game.

Tuesday, January 16, 5:00: Another Tuesday game with an early start sees Nazareth making the easy commute to Brockport.

Saturday, January 20, 7:00: Buffalo State played in the SUNYAC championship game a few months ago. They will be striving to do the same again in ’17-’18, adding to the Brockport-Buffalo State rivalry which has grown over the past few years.

Friday, February 2, 7:00 and Saturday, February 3, 4:00: The Morrisville Mustangs gallop into town for two games, including a 4:00 match-up on Saturday.

Saturday, February 10, 7:00: If they want to go out with a bang, our 8 seniors will have a tough foe to battle on Senior Night – Oswego.