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Brockport sweeps to playoff contention
A funny thing happened on the way to Brockport’s early elimination from playoff contention. Last week they tied Geneseo, and this weekend, they did the impossible. Impossible because it’s never been done before.

“With last night’s win being the first one in approximately 30 years, I’m sure this is the first ever sweep of North Country teams, either on the road or at home,” Brockport coach Brian Dickinson said. “We put together two really solid efforts.”

Their stunning 4-2 victory over Plattsburgh Friday night was so rare, it’s only happened once before. These two schools have met 75 times, and Brockport has only won twice. Twice.

Just as impressive is how the Golden Eagles won the game. Twice they fell behind in the first period, only to fight their way back, scoring the last three goals of the game.

Kyle Taylor put the Cardinals ahead by putting in a rebound during a power play at 3:48. Just 59 seconds later, James Cody tied it on a quick shot from the faceoff circle.

Kyle Kudroch gave Plattsburgh the lead again at 9:23 from in front of the goal. Cody got his second of the night at 10:45 of the second. Nick Panepinto gave Brockport its first lead with 2:58 left in regulation. Cody completed his hat trick, and the game, with an empty-netter 1-1/2 minutes later.

When you only beat Plattsburgh twice in your history, the chances of pulling off a sweep of the North Country teams are … well … nil. In only their second opportunity to do so, the Golden Eagles did just that with an exciting 5-3 win over Potsdam.

After a scoreless first period, Panepinto gave the home team the lead at 7:23 of the second when he simply threw the puck at the net from the sideboards, catching Kevin McFarland off guard.

“Good things happen when you go to the net or when you throw the puck at the net like the first goal,” Dickinson said. “Their goalie had no idea we were shooting it.”

“I’m sure he would like the first one back,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “I think it caught him by surprise.”

The Bears scored the next two to take the 2-1 lead. Adam Place got his 41 seconds later to tie it on a semi-breakaway. Trevor Cope got the second at 14:09 on a no-look backhander from the slot. Two minutes later, Mike Baxter tied it, tipping the puck in at the post.

Baxter scored again to lead off the third at 6:58, redirecting the puck from the backdoor. They were Baxter’s first two goals of the season, never mind the game. Troy Polino gave Brockport the two-goal lead at 8:38, getting off a shot in the slot while being knocked to the ice.

Potsdam responded quickly again, as Mike Foy stuffed a shot in from the top of the crease just 13 seconds later. However, Panepinto completed his bookend of goals at 14:46.

“Nick’s been on the whole second semester,” Dickinson said.

The star of the weekend was goaltender Oliver Wren, making 37 saves on Friday and 31 on Saturday, for a total of 68.

“Big game goaltender in juniors,” Dickinson said. “He waited a long time to have a weekend like this. I’m extremely proud of him for battling. He kept everything in front of him, played really big in the crease. What a great time for him to have two great games.”

So, what does this all mean? Well, I’ll have a comprehensive rundown on the permutations and tiebreakers heading into the final weekend in my column later this week. For now, Brockport is tied with Potsdam for the last playoff spot, one point behind Geneseo.

Brockport does not have its destiny in their own hands. It needs help, as it loses the tiebreaker to Potsdam. It does control the tiebreaker with Geneseo, but of course, it needs Morrisville to beat or tie Geneseo first.

“We’re just glad we have the opportunity,” Dickinson said.

Other highlights
– In the other important game with standings ramifications, Geneseo held on for a 4-3 win over Potsdam. The Ice Knights opened a 4-1 first period lead on power-play goals by Danny Scagnelli and Ryan Bulach, along with even-strength tallies by Corbin Rosmarin and Justin Scharfe. Bill Tsekos scored for Potsdam to tie the game at one. Potsdam then scored twice in the third, Mike Foy on a power play and then Dan McCamey, but despite having a short-handed breakaway and the puck sit on the line with six seconds left, the Bears were unable to force overtime.

“We have to be better carrying momentum in the third period,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said.

“A classic example of not being ready to play on the road,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “We got out-competed in someone else’s building in the first period.”

– Oswego shellacked Fredonia, 10-2. The Lakers chased Mark Friesen after 7:57 and four goals, but Jeff Holloway couldn’t stop the onslaught either. Oswego led 5-0 after one. Eight different players scored, with Jon Whitelaw and Chris Muise getting two apiece. Andrew Hare made 25 saves.

– Fredonia rebounded by keeping Cortland off the scoreboard in a 3-0 win. Friesen made 29 saves and Mike Muhs (short-handed), Stephen Castriota, and Alex Perkins (power-play) scored in the second period.

– The day before, Cortland lost a hard fought 4-3 battle with Buffalo State. Cortland led 1-0, the Bengals took a 3-1 lead, and Cortland tied it with two goals in the third before Drew Klin won it on a power play with 3:21 left in regulation.

– Oswego swept the weekend with a 4-1 win over Buffalo State. After falling behind 1-0, Oswego scored twice in the second and twice in the third, with Jon Whitelaw getting the final three for the natural hat trick with two on the power play and the finale into an empty net. Hare made 28 saves.

– Plattsburgh scored twice in the first (Michael Cassidy and Nick Jensen on a power play) at Geneseo. This time, it was the Ice Knights who tried to stage a third period comeback, but only Jonathan Redlick managed to find the back of the net for the 2-1 final score. Mathieu Cadieux made 24 saves for the win.