Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cortland Roller clinches conference with perfect weekend!

The Red Dragons took a trip down to Long Island to play the team’s final 3 games of the 2012-2013 regular season. The weekend started off for the Red Dragons against the BU terriers. Both teams came out in a very conservative matter feeling each other out until the 6:26 mark in the first period where BU scored on unfortunate bounce of the puck. Cortland tallied 2 power play goals within the next 3 minutes to end the first period up 2-1. Max Stern lit the lamp just 3 minutes into the 2nd period giving Cortland a 3-1 lead. BU scored 6 minutes later to make the game 3-2 headed into the 3rd and final period. The third period began and Cortland took the puck behind its own net to set up a breakout. However the BU defenders came out in a box formation applying almost no pressure on Cortland to move the puck. Cortland spent the rest of the period keeping the puck away from BU and would go on to win 3-2. Lou Vetri earned 3rd star of the game making 15 saves, CJ Gilcrist scored 2 goals and earned the 2nd star of the game, and Max Stern had 1 goal and 2 assists earning the first star of the game.
The second game of the season was the most important for the Red Dragons this weekend as they were given a chance to avenge their only loss of the year in a rematch vs. the Slippery Rock Pride. Things didn’t look that good for Cortland as they allowed a Slippery Rock goal less than a minute into the contest. Gilcrist sounded the horn for Cortland to get the party started followed by an amazing individual effort from Max Stern. Cortland settled down and controlled the puck ending the first period up 2-1.  The second period began with the same conservative tempo that was present in the first period until Slippery Rock scored 7 minutes in. Fortunately for Cortland an undisciplined Slippery Rock team took an unsportsmanlike penalty immediately following the goal. The Cortland power play went to work as graduate school sensation Bryan Feiler went top shelf where momma hides the cookies to make the game 3-2. The puck dropped and just 16 seconds later Gilcrist has his 2nd of the game on a beautiful bar down shot from a seemingly impossible angle. The second period ended 4-2. Slippery Rock was frustrated and it became clear in the 3rd period where they took 5 penalties to Cortland’s 2. Bryan Feiler put the icing on the cake as he made the game 5-2. Slippery Rock tacked on a third goal at the end of the game but the damage had been done. The Red Dragons had avenged their only loss of the season skating to a 5-3 lead and clinching the conference title!
Sunday morning the Red Dragons looked to complete what would be their first perfect weekend at the Division II level facing off against UMass Amherst at noon. Cortland got off to another slow start letting up a goal in the first minute, digging themselves a 1-0 hole early. Captain Krupa put the biscuit in the basket just 5 minutes later to tie the game up and the Red Dragons never looked back. Gilcrist and Hughes added goals to make it 3-1 at the end of the first period. Cortland let up another quick goal at the start of the game to make the score 3-2 but MVP finalist Max Stern notched 2 of his own to make it 5-2 and keep a feisty UMass team at bay. Stern completed the Hat Trick 4 minutes into the 3rd period to make put the game farther out of reach leading 6-3 with less than 8 minutes left in the game. UMass and Cortland exchanged goals to end the game which resulted in a 7-3 Red Dragon Win.
The Red Dragons had their first perfect weekend of the year and it seems like everything is coming together for this team that hasn’t lost a game since November 10th. They have a ton of horse power and have colossal momentum headed into the playoffs. They are getting contributions from all members of the team. Lou Vetri is playing the best hockey of his collegiate career, Cortland’s forwards are terrorizing defenders and goalies all over the league and Cortland’s Defensemen are also relentlessly blocking any shots and passes that the opposition throws towards Vetri. The team was mentioned in the NCRHA’s post of upward trending teams headed into regionals. The team will take the trip to Feasterville next weekend and hope to win the school’s first Division II regional title as well as secure a bid to the big dance this April in Fort Myers Florida!
Side notes: The refs in the Slippery Rock game said that Cortland was the most disciplined team in the league.
Cortland’s penalty kill went an almost perfect 5/6. The 3 man unit of Krupa Feiler and Gilcrist seem to have the puck more than the other team on the penalty kills.
Cortland has not lost since November 10th. This is a completely different team than it was in the first few weeks of the season and it shows they have gone from winning on individual talent alone to winning on a team effort.
Max Stern is a finalist for league MVP for the 2nd year in a row.

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