February 02, 2008


Dragons improve playoff chances upending Eagles

Though out-shot on their home ice, SUNY Cortland men picked up a key hockey victory in this quest to be part of the upcoming conference playoffs.
Senior Matt Nichols scored twice added an assist and junior goalie Mike Mistretta registered 36 saves to lead the Red Dragons to a vital 4-2 win over Brockport Friday night at Alumni Arena.
The Red Dragons improved to 5-6-1 in the SUNY Athletic Conference and 10-9-2 overall.
More importantly, Cortland jumped from seventh place into fifth place in the SUNYAC standings — moving ahead of both Potsdam and Geneseo. Potsdam lost 3-2 in overtime to Fredonia, while Geneseo was nipped by Oswego 5-4.
The top six teams make the conference playoffs, Cortland with four more conference contests on the schedule starting with tonight’s 7 p.m. hosting of Geneseo.
Brockport’s Golden Eagles, who held a 38-24 edge over Cortland in shots taken, had their playoff hopes jolted with last night’s loss. The visitors fall to 3-7-2 in SUNYAC play and 6-12-3 overall.
Cortland also received a goal and an assist from sophomore Mike Friel and a goal from junior Mike Maier in the victory, as the Red Dragons rallied from a 1-0 first period deficit. Freshman Greg Haney recorded two assists, while senior Brennan Briggs, sophomore Gerard Heinz and freshmen Brent and Graham Fallon chipped in with one assist each.
Seniors Chris Brown and Chris Koras led the Golden Eagles with a goal and an assist apiece.
The Red Dragons have gone 7-1-1 over their last nine outings.
 Brockport grabbed a 1-0 lead on the power play at 7:34 of the opening period when Brown buried a wrist shot inside the right post from the slot. That was all the Golden Eagles had two show for out-shooting the Red Dragons 14-1 in the opening stanza.
Cortland scored twice in the second period for a 2-1 lead. Maier one- timed a shot right in front on the power play at 8:13, and Nichols scored his first of the night on a deflection in front at 15:35.
Koras quickly tied the game up just 1:09 into the third period with his 10th goal of the season with the man advantage. Cortland answered 14 seconds later when Friel put a rebound past goalie Todd Sheridan to put the Red Dragons up 3-2.
Nichols then added an insurance goal at 18:16 as he converted a two-on-one with Friel. Brockport pulled Sheridan with 1:22 remaining and had a two-skater advantage after a Cortland penalty. The Red Dragons forced a faceoff in Brockport’s zone with 19 seconds remaining, and Sheridan returned between the pipes for the remainder of the game.
Cortland women are also in action today at Alumni Arena, the Red Dragons taking on Oswego at 2 p.m. in an ECAC West Division contest. The two teams will also face off tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the same site.