Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cortland Clinches Number One Seed

The Red Dragons kicked off their Spring semester with a huge bang last weekend in Feasterville, PA. The first game of the weekend called Lehigh to the rink to take on Cortland. However, the Hawks, being just two hours from Feasterville, decided to leave on Saturday morning to try and make it to the 6 A.M. start time. Due to the winter weather, Lehigh did not make it, thus forfeiting to Cortland. The Dragons being awake and ready for the game, had a light skate around for the hour time slot.

With the Dragons being quite angry about the Lehigh “no-show” in the morning, Loyola was next on the schedule at 2 P.M. A furious Cortland squad showed up, notching eight goals in the first period alone. The first period was capped by Max Stern’s hat trick. Other goals in the period were Tom Hughes (2), Gary Krupa, Mike Barbariantz, and Tommy Farr. In the second Cortland scored four more times, with Mike Weber picking up three assists in the period. The third and final period of the game saw the Dragons pick up seven more goals, and give up just one fluke goal that deflected off of defenseman’s Mike Weber’s skate and crossed the goal line Lou Vetri was manning. With a 19-1 win, easily the largest goal out put in one game in Cortland history, Stern netted seven goals while Hughes notched four.

Ramapo was etched into the 8 A.M. time slot versus Cortland on Sunday morning. The Dragons, once again anxious to get the scoring going, netted six goals in the first period,

again with Stern scoring a hat trick, this one of the natural variety. A seven goal showing by Cortland in the second period was more than enough to seal the victory in the early morning game. However, three more goals in the third would cap off the morning victory in favor of the Dragons, 16-0.

Coming off of two blow-out wins, Cortland faced their rivals Oswego in the biggest game of the weekend. Cortland started the game a bit rusty from playing run and gun offense to adjusting to playing a steady stay at home defensive game against the Lakers. The new tandem of Mitch Croce and Chris Fidotta really clicked on all cylinders over the weekend. They got the scoring started on a nice play set up by Fidotta with Croce netting the goal. With just thirty seconds left to play and the Red Dragons on the man advantage, Mike Weber capitalized and scored the second goal of the game on a pass by Stern.

Going into the second period Cortland was looking to extend its lead quickly, however Oswego had other plans. Just 43 seconds into the second stanza, the Lakers cut their lead in half on a goal. No goals were scored in the middle of the period, however there was a good amount of rough play along the boards and in front of the net. With 2:02 left to play in the period CJ Gilcrist finally found the back of the net to put the Red Dragons back up by two. Then again with just 13 seconds left on the clock, Max Stern found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the weekend, an extremely impressive mark for which he was rewarded with the number one star of the weekend. This put Cortland up 4-1 at the end of the period and they didn’t look back in the third. The Dragons tallied three more goals in the game from Gilcrist, Krupa, and Fidotta. Cortland skated to a 7-1 win and now holds a 3-0 record over the Lakers this season.

Now 12-0 on the season, Cortland has secured first place in D-III with 24 points. Three forfeits are scattered into that 12-win mark. Cortland has only played 9 games, however they have scored 111 goals in those nine and have given up just 16 (9 of the 16 being to Oswego). The squad will play their last regular season games in Glastonbury, CT. The first team on the schedule will be Queens College, a Division II school. This will be Cortland’s biggest test of the season so far. If they can give Queens a game and even come out victorious, it will be a huge step forward for a program that just four years ago was being blown out by teams 13-0. The other game on the Glastonbury schedule will be the Oswego Lakers, the ECRHA’s featured game of the weekend.

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