Game of the Week
You have to go with the game that pits the two teams closest to each other in points. That would be Potsdam at Geneseo on Friday. The Bears are in fifth place, one point ahead of Geneseo. Oh, and Potsdam has a game in hand, so Geneseo has to consider Potsdam already three points ahead of them before the game even begins.
“We are not going to lament about this tie,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said after the disappointing game against Brockport. “We have to turn the page and move forward. The guys know every game we play from here on in is going to be crucial to where we end up. It’s usually like this every year. We’re used to it. This year is a little different in that we’re looking upward a little more. It will tell us a little about how much heart we have, how much grit we have, the willingness to do the little things that we have not done in big games this year. We’ll find out a lot about ourselves Friday night.”
Before this past weekend, the only weekend conference sweep Potsdam pulled off was when Geneseo and Brockport came up north. That sweep started with Potsdam pounding the Ice Knights, 7-3. Potsdam was three-for-nine on the power play.
The power play will probably hold the key to the game. In conference play, Potsdam has the third best power play in the league at 23.7 percent, while Geneseo is next to last at 16.1 percent. Both teams’ penalty kill is virtually the same, but Potsdam commits way more penalties than Geneseo.
Potsdam has only won one game on the road all season, so this matchup will be a lot different than their earlier contest.
The Bears seem to be set to ride Kevin McFarland in net. His play and their power-play effectiveness will determine the outcome.
Both teams have had streaks of inconsistency, Geneseo more so as of late than Potsdam. This is the type of game no matter who you pick, you will be wrong. So, I may as well take the plunge and go with the team that has had the ever-so-slightly better results of late — Potsdam.
Potsdam’s weekend sweep produced my worst week of the year at 3-3-1, totaling 82-26-12 (.733).
Speaking of Potsdam, it will finish the weekend playing at Brockport, a team it beat back in November, 5-3. After Brockport tied Geneseo, it was hoping for some help, but never got it, as Potsdam took four points the same weekend. This left Brockport looking way up at a playoff spot.
First, the Golden Eagles have to play Plattsburgh.
“We’ll obviously try and take that wounded animal approach,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said after that game. “We’ve proven we can play with anybody. That’s the attitude we’ll have to have Friday night. It’s been a long time since we’ve been successful against Plattsburgh. They’re obviously having a fantastic year again this year. We’ll tell our guy how important it is to stay out of the box, because you’re not going to get a lot of power plays. It’s do or die every game.”
If they can manage something and get some help from Geneseo, they get a chance to make a difference against Potsdam.
“Try to get into a position to have that Potsdam game really mean something,” Dickinson said. “If it comes down to that being a true playoff game, then obviously having it in our rink is an advantage for us.”
Despite Dickinson’s hope, I see Plattsburgh and Potsdam taking the wins and finishing off Brockport’s season. I also expect Plattsburgh to beat Geneseo on Saturday.
In the other set of games, Oswego will sweep the weekend, beating Fredonia and then Buffalo State. Conversely, I see Fredonia and Buffalo State taking wins at Cortland. However, the way the Bengals sometimes play, don’t be surprised to see Cortland grab another upset.
In the last nonconference game of the year, Manhattanville is at Morrisville. I’ll take the visiting “M” team.