Brockport hockey team skates back into rink
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 12:10
The much anticipated Brockport hockey season is now upon us. This season brings a sense of sadness following the loss of several beloved players, but also brings about a new hope.
Head Coach Brian Dickinson and his staff have worked in the offseason to refocus their efforts and bring in a group of freshmen who could help get Brockport back on the path to a winning season.
The Tuttle North Ice Arena will no longer be graced with the presence of players like All-American James Cody, goalie Oliver Wren, forwards Adam Shoff and Ian Finnerty or any of the other Eagles who have since moved on since last season.
“You can’t replace [James Cody],” Dickinson said. “Not with one player right away. He was the SUNYAC Player of the Year. I’d be lying if I said we had anybody returning that [sic] would fill those shoes.”
Despite the loss of those players, Eagles faithful should not throw in the towel, as Dickinson has brought in a freshman class that should not be taken lightly.
The freshmen include 6-foot-5-inch defenseman Chad Cummings, forwards Jesse Facchini and Luke Colavecchia, goaltender Jared Lockhurst, and forward Chase Nieuwendyk, nephew of NHL Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk.
“Most of our freshmen, if not all of them, are going to be in our lineup at some point,” Dickinson said. “They’re all going to have impacts, but these guys are going to be names people recognize.”
Dickinson also brought in 6-foot-2-inch, 205-pound forward Mike Zagari.
“We’re really excited about this guy,” Dickinson said. “He’s a big, strong kid. He has the potential to be the next James Cody. He’s not lightning quick, but he can get up and down the ice. He has a James Cody shot. He’s scoring a lot of goals in practice but he’s just a big monster of a kid.”
Lockhurst is another crucial addition to the roster as Dickinson works toward finding a replacement for Wren in the net.
Dickinson said Lockhurst will compete with sophomore Aaron Green for the starting job.
“I’m excited for this year,” Green said. “Last year was a huge learning year for me and I got my feet wet by playing in some big games. Wren really took me under his wing.”
This year’s team will be led by a strong group of upperclassmen, including senior defenseman and Team Captain Mike Hayward, junior forward Bobby Connor and junior defenseman Matt Deluca.
“Team-wise, it’s important for us to show the freshman the right way on and off the ice,” DeLuca said. “Opposed to yelling, we’re going to try to lead by example. The freshmen have really caught on. They’ve gotten up to speed quicker than any class since I’ve been here.”
Aside from bringing in a solid group of freshmen talent, Dickinson said he has looked at himself and his staff to try and bring about improvement.
“We’ve refocused the staff as far as duties,” Dickinson said. “As the head coach you want your fingers in everything and at the end of the day, I’m responsible for the final product on the ice, but I have quality assistants in Nick Unger and Phil Roe, so we’ve divided up the responsibilities a little bit more.”
Dickinson said he is running the power play, which requires all of his focus, so he let Unger and Roe run the penalty kill.
Aside from the refocusing and redistributing of coaching roles, Dickinson said his team will continue to be a very high tempo, energetic team that loves to play physical hockey.
Tuesday, Oct. 23 marks the first game of Brockport’s schedule. The Eagles faced off against Nazareth in its inaugeral season and this weekend marks the Eagles’ first pair of away games. Brockport travels to Buffalo State Friday, Oct. 26 and Fredonia Saturday.
Nov. 17 and again Feb. 8, the Eagles will face the Plattsburgh Cardinals and attempt to build off of last season’s upset victory. The victory was the first win the Eagles have had over the Cardinals in 30 years.
Dec. 7 and Feb. 1 will be games against rival Geneseo.
“Geneseo [games] are the two games we circle right away,” Dickinson said. “They are the team we, as coaches, strive to beat.”
Following Brockport’s two away contests, the Eagles return home for a three game span Nov. 2, 3 and 9 against Oswego, Cortland and Hobart College, respectively.
Brockport looks to avenge losses suffered to all three teams last season.