By: Brayden Peters
BROCKPORT, N.Y. - The Brockport Golden Eagles hockey team's struggles continued Saturday as they fell to Cortland for the second time this season, 5-1. It was Brockport's final home game of the season before finishing with a three-road game stretch. The Red Dragons controlled much of the game and seemed to be a step ahead of Brockport.
The first third of the game was somewhat eventful. Only one goal was scored thanks to Cortland’s Stephen Kyrkostas. However, there were numerous scoring opportunities from both sides.
There were some odd man rushes from both teams and scoring chances where the goalie was out of position. However, neither team could capitalize on them.
This was also thanks to solid goalie play from Brockport's David Filak and Cortland's Ronan Mobley. Brockport outshot Cortland 18-13 in the first. Brockport’s Connor Galloway believed there were a couple of key things the needed to do to get a rhythm going.
"Play the full 60," Galloway said. "It's a big thing we've been talking about. Obviously, good teams are going to score, but we got to make sure we don't get down."
Second period struggles have been a consistent theme throughout the year for Brockport, and it showed. While on the power play, a huge turnover from the Golden Eagles allowed Sutter Donegan to drive to crease and bury a shot past Filak to increase the Red Dragons lead to 2-0. The goal, which came 44 seconds into the period, was the third shorthanded goal scored against Brockport this season.
After that goal, the Golden Eagles started to fall apart defensively. Their defense was getting torn up and struggled to halt the offensive pressure from Cortland. They really started to look broken down after Cortland’s Cameron Knowlton deflected a wrist shot from his teammate Anthony Bernardo into the net. This gave the Red Dragons a 3-0 lead.
The Red Dragons continued to pound the puck into the Brockport net. Bernardo picked up a goal on a wrist shot, giving Cortland a 4-0 lead. The Golden Eagles' offense was still applying solid pressure and slicing their way through the Red Dragons' defense. However, missed opportunities and excellent saves from Mobley made things difficult for them to claw back into the game.
A sense of hope, though, was given to the Golden Eagles. Schuyler Flansburg scored on the power play minutes before the end of the second period. It was his first goal back since his injury. He felt that the team needed something, not a change in their game plan, in order to catch up with Cortland.
"I think we got to stick to it and just get our energy back up," Flansburg said. "...I think we're going to find enough to battle back here."
Unfortunately for Brockport, that did not happen. Even though Brockport got into two fights with Cortland, which brought some energy to the Golden Eagles fans and some players, it wasn't enough to pull off the comeback.
Brockport couldn't find the back of the net at all in the third period while Cortland focused on chewing the clock, which worked to perfection. At one point in the period, the Red Dragons had the puck in the offensive zone for one minute and thirty seconds in one possession. That possession made it evident how flat Brockport was and how limited energy they had. This played a role in why they ended up losing 5-1.
There were a few costly defensive mistakes from Brockport that hurt their chances of winning. These are things that Brockport head coach Brian Dickinson wants to emphasize in this upcoming week of practice.
"Ultimately, we got to pay attention to all the little details...and how to finish checks and how to step up in the neutral zone," Dickinson said. "...we'll continue to work on those situations and be ready for Buff State."
The Buffalo State Bengals will be next up on the schedule for Brockport and it is a significant game for them when it comes to the playoffs. With the loss, Brockport finds themselves out of the playoffs after Fredonia took over the sixth seed with a 5-1 win against Morrisville.
However, if Brockport does beat Buffalo State, who is in the fifth seed, they will jump ahead of them. This is due to conference tiebreaker rules as Brockport has already beaten the Bengals earlier this season. Dickinson is looking forward to that game and the rest of the season as things are going to get serious for his Brockport.
"I think that the next weekend is the playoffs for us," Dickinson said. "...you control your own destiny still."
The Golden Eagles will go on the road against the Bengals on Friday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.