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Elmira’s Crocker UCHC Player of the Week


ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Emma Crocker ’21 of the No. 3-nationally ranked Elmira College women’s ice hockey team was tabbed the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) North Division Player of the Week on Tuesday afternoon after guiding the Purple Gold to a 2-0-0 start to the season.

Crocker flew out of the gates to open the 2019-20 campaign. In Elmira’s 12-0 demolition of Wilkes University in the season opener, the junior forward registered a career-best six points on two goals and four assists. Her six-point outing tied her for fourth in program single-game history. She followed up her career day with a second multi-point outing against King’s College (Pa.). The Abington, Massachusetts, native potted one power-play goal and added a pair of assists in a 6-0 shutout victory.

At the start of her breakout campaign, Crocker is first in the nation in points per game (4.50) and assists per game (3.00), tied for third in goals per game (1.50), tied for fifth in power-play goals (2), and is tied for fifth in game-winning goals (1).

Crocker and the No. 3-ranked Soaring Eagles will put their unblemished record on the line on Saturday, November 16, when they welcome the Herons of William Smith College to the Murray Athletic Center for a rematch of the 2019 UCHC title game. The contest is scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start as part of the 38th annual Athletics Alumni Weekend.

Off The Crossbar: 29’s A Crowd…But A Welcome One


ITHACA, N.Y. – Just before last Tuesday’s men’s hockey practice at Cornell, Ed Kelly – who is in his 25th season as the Big Red’s athletic trainer – sat down in the press box and peered toward the team.

“Hey, look,” he said, wary-eyed but smiling as he slowly spread his hands and turned them toward the rafters, as if to present the ice on a platter. The main dish was a full roster of 29 players on the ice – a first for team in more than a full calendar year.

And as soon as the realization was made, Kelly immediately knocked on wood.

Keeping an entire hockey team healthy – especially one of the gritty Big Red’s ilk – is a nearly impossible task. But Cornell went through more than its fair share of lumps last year to the tune of 90-plus man-games lost to injury, including lengthy stints on the shelf for key contributors like Jeff Malott, Max Andreev, Matthew Galajda, Alex Green, Cody Haiskanen and Brendan Smith ’19. To have a fresh start to this season was welcomed, even if it didn’t immediately pan out to be entirely pain-free.

While the Big Red isn’t completely healthy, even getting as close as having all of its players on the ice seems like a monumental accomplishment – and one that has reverberations beyond what you might think.

Cornell had 23 skaters on its roster for the bulk of last season. Tack on all the injuries, and it had no choice but to alter the nature of its practices at times due to a lack of healthy bodies. Consider that you need to 20 healthy skaters to run a single five-on-five drill – two shifts of three forwards and two defensemen on each side. If you have fewer than 20, someone has to be double-shifted.

“Last year, toward the end of the season, practices were kind of tough. Especially the up-tempo stuff,” junior forward Brenden Locke said.

But when everyone is on the ice for practice this year, that’s 26 skaters (16 forwards, 10 defensemen). Now a five-on-five drill has about one fewer shift per player every four shift changes. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can add up – and it’s quite likely that it has aided in the Big Red’s quick start this year.

“Having that many guys, you’re more rested so the reps are more intense and everyone’s battling that much harder,” Locke said. “So, yes, you get fewer reps – but I think it’s more quality reps, because you’re battling to just stay in the lineup.”

–– All-American In The House ––

With more than 4,100 fans in the stands for Saturday’s rout of Yale, there was bound to be plenty of people in attendance who had never taken in a game from the Lynah Rink stands before. It was easy to pick out which one had the most familiarity with Cornell hockey, though.

Ben Scrivens ’10, an All-American goaltender who helped lead the Big Red to its last ECAC Hockey title during his senior season before embarking on a career in professional hockey that consisted of five years in the NHL and a bronze medal with Team Canada at the 2018 Olympic Games, dropped by after a business trip to Toronto.

The always-affable Scrivens visited with coaches, former teammates and members of the media before having a chat with Cornell’s three goaltenders after the game. He took in the nostalgia of hearing the pep band again and marveled at how this was actually the first time he had seen a Cornell men’s game from the Lynah Rink stands (even his recruiting visit came on a weekday).

Scrivens dropped by the press box during the first period and stuck around for a candid interview with former teammate Topher Scott ’08 on the broadcast of the game on ESPN+ during the intermission.

Among the highlights of the conversation was when Scott reminded fans that Scrivens’ wife, Jenny (Niesluchowski) Scrivens ’10, also was a goaltender that played at Cornell and then professionally in the NWHL.

“The irony of us playing at the same time at Cornell was that when we would have home games, the women’s team was on the road – and when the women’s team had home games, then we were on the road,” Ben Scrivens said. “So we really didn’t watch each other play. So there wasn’t any opportunity to really watch and give any feedback.”

“You probably wouldn’t be married today if that were the case,” Scott added.

The full interview can be viewed on the archive of the broadcast, which will be available for a couple of weeks. It begins around the 38:27 mark.

(Link: https://www.espn.com/watch/player?id=5346b7f0-7c87-4593-b67c-f00f58fe36b6)

–– Around The League ––

•  St. Lawrence’s rebuild under former Cornell assistant coach Brent Brekke is off to a good start. While the Saints’ 3-6-1 record isn’t entirely what dreams are made of, it’s still instant improvement over its final records of 8-27-2 two years ago and 6-29-2 last year.

The Big Red will get a first-hand look at the Saints on Saturday, when the teams clash at Roos House Ice Arena in SUNY Canton. St. Lawrence enters this weekend fresh off a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in overtime on Saturday at Union.

“I do think it gives our guys a comfort level of playing in tight games,” Brekke told Mike MacAdam of The Daily Gazette. (Link: https://dailygazette.com/article/2019/11/09/union-wastes-2-0-lead-loses-to-st-lawrence-in-ot) “We’ve been in a number of them, so I think they’re getting used to it. It would be nice not to have to and win it outright a little more. But there is something to be said for that, if you’re going to be a successful team, you’ve got to find ways to win games in many different ways.”

Meanwhile, the loss to St. Lawrence and a 5-1 setback against Clarkson the night prior has Union leading the nation with 10 losses through 12 games.

•  One of the keys to Cornell’s success in the early going this year is a relentless rolling of four quality forward lines, and it’s not the only team in the league firing the proverbial shot across bow with such a strength. Harvard has raced out to a 3-0 start with 17 goals from 10 different scorers.

–– Alumni Update ––

•  Cole Bardreau ’15 lit up the hockey world last Tuesday by scoring his first NHL goal on a penalty shot in a game against the Ottawa Senators. The elation displayed after the shot was palpable, as was the pure joy that his teammates had for him.

(Link: https://www.nhl.com/lightning/video/bardreaus-first-nhl-goal/t-277542274/c-70141203)

Bardreau’s first stint in the NHL came to end Saturday, when the Islanders returned him to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He had one goal and one assist for two points with a minus-1 rating and 41.9 faceoff percentage over nine games with the Isles, averaging around 8-9 minutes per game.

For his troubles, Bardreau earned the random nickname “Tuna” before his departure, according to a report in Newsday.

(Link: https://www.newsday.com/sports/columnists/andrew-gross/islanders-derick-brassard-jordan-eberle-1.38419137)

–– Polls Prose ––

•  The Big Red moved up to third in the USCHO.com national poll by virtue of its dominating weekend sweep of Brown and Yale and UMass’ loss Sunday at New Hampshire. It’s the highest Cornell has been ranked in the poll since it entered the 2018 ECAC Hockey semifinal ranked second. The Big Red also held steady at fourth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll this week.

•  Is it too early to look at the Pairwise Comparison Rankings? It might be relevant sooner than you think, as Adam Wodon at College Hockey News explained a few years back. (Link: https://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2017/01/02_heed_the_pairwise__now.phpat)

At a minimum, the last of the unbeatens has to fall before heavy stock can be paid. That usually outlasts the relative dearth of games played by Ivy League programs and soft home-heavy non-conference schedules typically brandished early in the season by some Power Five programs.

So, is it too early to look at the Pairwise? Yes. Absolutely. But it’s still enjoyable for Big Red fans to see Cornell sitting atop that table.

(Link: https://www.collegehockeynews.com/ratings/pairwise/)

Off The Crossbar is a weekly-ish notebook about the Cornell men’s hockey team written by assistant director of athletic communications Brandon Thomas, who is in his ninth season as his office’s primary contact for the team following a stint as the team’s beat writer at The Ithaca Journal. He can be reached at brandon@cornell.edu.

Potsdam Men’s Hockey Hosting Special Night


POTSDAM, N.Y.-The SUNY Potsdam men’s hockey team is hosting Angelman Syndrome Awareness Night during its contest against No. 5 Hobart College on Saturday, November 23.

The event comes from Bears junior forward Jacob Juron (Latham, N.Y./South Shore Kings), who has seen families affected by the genetic disorder, which causes developmental disabilities and nerve-related symptoms.

“This is personal to me because of two close families to mine back home in Albany affected by it,” said Juron. “My strength coach, Leo Corvino’s son was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome and one of my close neighbors, Olivia Carney also has it. I wanted to do something special that hasn’t really been done yet. I know not many people are aware of Angelman Syndrome so I thought this could be a really cool opportunity for people to not only learn but make a difference.”

The Bears have already been raising money for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics or FAST. Juron says they have been seeking donations locally and have an auction and other activities planned for game night.

“So far we have some amazing items for an auction/raffle,” added Juron. “There will be a commemorative tee-shirts for sale. We will be wearing very unique custom jerseys that night, representing not only us, but also Angelman Syndrome. There are some other exciting things in the works as well. I’m very excited for the night to come.”

Community service and working for important causes are key parts of being a Bear, according to 11th-year head coach Chris Bernard.

“It has been a critical goal for our program to seek out opportunities to help charitable organizations with their objectives by supporting events and causes that impact our community,” Bernard said. “We have been grateful to work alongside so many great people as a result. However, to see one of our players (Juron) take such a vested interest in trying to make a difference, to create an impact, is something that gives us an ever greater sense of pride. He has approached every element of facilitating this event as a true professional and we could not be more happy to support him in all of his efforts. Further, we appreciate the chance to be part of the FAST team in raising money and awareness for Angelman Syndrome.”

For more information on how to support the Bears in this endeavor, contact Jacob Juron at juronjm201@potsdam.edu.

Potsdam is back home for two SUNYAC contests this weekend. The Bears host Buffalo State at 7 p.m. on Friday and Fredonia at the same time on Saturday.

Julene Caulfield New Director at Manhattanville


PURCHASE, N.Y. – Manhattanville College announced the appointment of Julene Caulfield as Director of Athletics and Recreation.

Caulfield has been a member of the Manhattanville community for 18 years and with the athletics program for 17 of those years. She has served as Associate Director of Athletics for the past two years and is the Senior Woman Administrator for the department. She previously served for 12 years as Assistant Director of Athletics and the Senior Woman Administrator. Since September, Caulfield has been serving as the Acting Director of Athletics and Recreation.

“I am honored to be appointed to the position of Director of Athletics and Recreation, and fully understand the responsibilities of upholding the Valiant tradition of excellence for our student-athletes on the playing surface and, more importantly, in the classroom,” said Caulfield. “Manhattanville athletics has been a huge part of my life for the last 17 years and I look forward to leading the department to new heights.”

As the Director of Athletics and Recreation, Caulfield is responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the College’s 22-sport department, continuing the rich tradition of Manhattanville Valiant Athletics and ensuring that all men’s and women’s programs are competitive and maintain high academic standards for all student-athletes. Caulfield also oversees the department’s compliance with NCAA standards, the Valiant coaches and staff members, and fundraising and partnership opportunities.

“Julene is an asset to Manhattanville College Athletics and has been a constant and reliable force here,” said Vice President for Student Affairs at Manhattanville, Cindy Porter. “This promotion is well deserved and I look forward to seeing her shine in her new role.”

Caulfield has accomplished much for the department during her tenure with the Valiants. Some highlights include assisting in the orchestration of the agreement for and installation of The Bubble, a seasonal structure which now covers Ophir Field on the campus in the winter months, in partnership with New York Soccer Club. Caulfield also played a major role in the creation and development of the Intramural and Recreation program over the last two years. Additionally, Caulfield assisted in the development of the Manhattanville Athletics Hall of Fame from the ground up, in conjunction with former Director of Athletics Keith Levinthal, which inducted its sixth class this past October.

“I would like to thank Manhattanville President Michael Geisler and Dr. Cindy Porter for appointing me to this role,” said Caulfield. “They have entrusted me with the responsibility of overseeing the entire department of athletics, and I will work my hardest to uphold the tried and true Valiant standards both on and off the playing surface.”

Caulfield joined Manhattanville as an administrative assistant in the College’s development office before moving over to athletics in April of 2003 to become an Assistant to the Director of Athletics/Assistant Sports Information Director.

Caulfield earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Manhattanville in 2011. She is a 2002 graduate of Marymount College of Fordham University with a dual degree in English and Journalism. A native of Swartz Creek, Mich., Caulfield resides in Putnam Valley, N.Y., with her husband, two young sons and dog Gus.

2020 Friendship Four Update


Jetsetting Across the Pond: 2020 Friendship Four Matchups Set

Established in 2015, the Friendship Four has quickly become one of the premier events of the college hockey season. The event has featured pairs of ECAC Hockey and Hockey East teams squaring off each November since its inception. But, for the 2020 Friendship Four, Atlantic Hockey will graciously enter the fold.

Three Atlantic Hockey teams will make the trans-Atlantic flight next fall to participate in next year’s event. They are Army West Point, Mercyhurst, and Sacred Heart. They’ll join Quinnipiac from the ECAC to make up the four-team field.

The Friendship Four originated following the Boston/Belfast Sister City agreement made in 2014. It celebrates the partnership which is intended to foster stronger cultural, economic, and academic relationships between Northern Ireland and America. The tournament quickly grew from a Boston-Belfast concept into a Hockey East-ECAC event with the two leagues’ representatives battling for the Belpot trophy. Now, an Atlantic Hockey team will have the ability to raise the Belpot next November.

“Atlantic Hockey and its member institutions are extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Friendship Four”, said Commissioner DeGregorio. “We want to thank Shane (Johnson), the Belfast Giants, and the rest of the Friendship Four organizing committee for extending the invitation to what has become one of the most popular events of the college hockey season.”

Atlantic Hockey’s participation in the 2020 Friendship Four was announced a couple of weeks ago at an event in Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland and home to the Belfast Giants hockey team. Commissioner DeGregorio joined Commissioners Hagwell (ECAC Hockey) and Bertagna (Hockey East), Shane Johnson, the Friendship Four project manager, and athletic directors/sport administrators Kristine Fowler (Army West Point), Brad Davis (Mercyhurst), and Charlie Dowd (Sacred Heart) in Belfast for the announcement in early October.

Commissioner DeGregorio had nothing but positive things to say of his time in Belfast.

“I’m already looking towards next fall”, said DeGregorio. “The people of Belfast couldn’t be more welcoming, not to mention excited for the next iteration of the Friendship Four Tournament. We are thrilled to be a part of the 2020 event and for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented to our student-athletes.”

The matchups for the 2020 Friendship Four are now known, however, the order of games will not be decided until it gets closer to next season.

In one game on opening night, Mercyhurst will take on ECAC Hockey opponent Quinnipiac, while in the second game, Sacred Heart and Army will play a conference matchup.

More details for the 2020 Friendship Four will be announced as the event nears. The 2019 Friendship Four takes place on November 29th and 30th and features Northeastern, New Hampshire, Princeton, and Colgate.

Book Review: “Taro Lives!”



I had the honor of recently attending a book signing with author Paul Wieland with his new book, “Taro Lives! Confessions of the Sabres Hoaxter.”

This book details the early days of the Buffalo Sabres when it’s PR (and later TV) Director (Wieland) pulled off yearly April fools Day pranks that fooled fans, management and even sometimes NHL and US Government Officials! It’s also a great inside look at life behind the scenes of a pro sports team. A fun read for all fans of hockey and sports (and elaborately conceived hoaxes).

The Forward to the book (written by Wieland) sums up his style:

“In 1974 the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League drafted a Japanese center named Taro Tsujimoto in the seventh round of the league’s annual selection of amateur players from throughout the world. Tsujimoto was the first player from Japan selected in league history and was expected to attend the Sabres training camp in the fall. Buffalo’s move made national news across Canada and in the U.S. There’s one little element I forgot to mention.

“Taro didn’t exist. I made him up, and he’ll be the lead to any obituary about me.

“I am a hoaxer and am proud of my calling.”

Wieland’s book is a great read. It deals with a different time in NHL history.

(Pictured above are l-r, Budd Bailey, Paul Wieland, Seymour Knox IV)

LaPlante Named UCHC Rookie of the Week


Wiliam Smith College first-year Mia LaPlante was named the United Collegiate Hockey Conference Women’s North Rookie of the Week today.

A Framingham, Mass., native, LaPlante had two goals and two assists for four points in a 3-0-0 week for William Smith. On Tuesday, in a 5-3 victory over Morrisville, she had a goal and an assist. She opened the scoring 19 seconds into the game, the second fastest goal to start a game in program history. In the third period, LaPlante set up Emily Martino’s goal that gave the Herons a 3-1 lead at the time. On Saturday night, she added a goal and an assist in an 8-0 victory over King’s. LaPlante is the first Heron to record a goal in each of her first four games.

LaPlante is tied for the team lead with four goals through five games this season. With two assists, she has six points this season.

William Smith wrapped up the week with a 4-1 victory over Wilkes at The Cooler. The Herons are 5-0-0 to start the season for the second straight year. William Smith will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 16, when it heads down Seneca Lake to take on third-ranked Elmira. Faceoff at the Murray Athletic Center is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Amerks Weekly Report


**This Week’s Storylines**


Rochester comes into the week riding a three-game point streak (2-0-0-1) and have won three of its last six games, with all three wins coming against North Division opponents. With Friday’s shootout loss versus Binghamton, the Amerks have earned 17 out of a possible 26 points through their first 13 games of the season, putting them just two points away from the top spot in North Division.


One of the biggest factors attributed to Rochester’s early season success is the fact that the Amerks have outshot their opponents in every game so far this season, including a season-high 50 shots in Springfield on Oct. 27. The Amerks come into the week third in the AHL in total shots (464) and are averaging 35.08 shots per game, the most behind only the Iowa Wild. Rochester owns one of the top two shooters in the league in Tage Thompson (56) and currently remains the only team this season to have outshot the opposition in every game to start the 2019-20 campaign.


Despite being held off the scoresheet four times so far this season, Thompson has totaled 23 points (14+9) over his last 24 games with the Amerks dating back to last season, including the two goals he scored in the first round of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Marlies. More impressively, Thompson has scored 12 goals in just 21 career regular-season games with Rochester, easily surpassing the total he set over a 30-game stint with San Antonio during his rookie season in 2017-18. The third-year pro leads the team six goals and 12 points while his six assists are for the team-lead through his first 13 games of the season. He also is second in league with 56 shots on goal.


The Amerks come into the week owning two of the AHL’s top point-producing defensemen in Zach Redmond and Casey Nelson. The start of the 2019-20 season is just a different chapter in the same story for the 31-year-old Redmond, who’s averaged nearly a point-per-game through his first 11 games of the season. The reigning Eddie Shore Award winner and two-time AHL All-Star has collected eight points (1+7) in his last 16 games dating back to last season. Much like his counterpart, Nelson, too, is playing at almost a point-per-game pace. His two goals are tied for 10th-most in the AHL amongst defensemen while his team-best plus-nine on-ice rating ranks third. The fourth-year pro enters the week with five points (2+3) over his last three games, including a career-high three-point effort (2+1) against Binghamton to open the month of November.


Rochester’s 4-3 shootout loss to Binghamton on Friday was the sixth game so far this season that went beyond regulation for the Amerks, the most behind only Hartford. The Amerks, who tied an AHL record during the 2017-18 season with 29 overtime games, are 2-1 in the bonus period this season and show a 1-2 record in the shootout. 


After being held without a point in his first four games of the 2019-20 campaign, forward Sean Malone has recorded three goals and three assists for six points in the last six games, a new career-high for the third-year pro. With points in each of his last six games, Malone has the second-longest active point streak in the AHL behind only Matt Puempel of the Grand Rapids Griffins. The West Seneca native is tied for eighth on the team with six points while being one of 10 Amerk forwards with two or more goals on the season.

Plattsburgh’s Poreda Men’s Goalie of the Week


By: Mark Vasey, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Junior goaltender Jimmy Poreda (Tonawanda, N.Y./Connecticut Jr. Rangers) of Plattsburgh State has been named the PrestoSports State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Men’s Ice Hockey Goaltender of the Week for the period ending Nov. 10, 2019, as announced by the conference office on Monday.

Poreda earned the honor by playing to a 1-1-0 record with 48 saves, a .923 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against average on the week. He began the week by making 26 saves at then-No. 5 Oswego State on Friday. Poreda then concluded his week with 22 saves and a .957 save percentage as Plattsburgh State won 4-1 at SUNY Cortland on Saturday. The win over Cortland was the Cardinals’ first regular-season victory under first-year head coach Steve Moffat.

It is the sixth time that Poreda has been named SUNYAC Goaltender of the Week and the first time this season.

Plattsburgh State men’s ice hockey will hold its Military Appreciation Night this Friday, Nov. 15, when the Cardinals face Fredonia at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. Puck drop of the SUNYAC game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

VETERANS DAY SPECIAL: Pete Dawkins: Heisman, Hockey, Army and Vietnam Vet



            Pete Dawkins is one of the most accomplished cadets to ever come out of West Point. He was a Heisman Trophy winner and captain of Army’s 1958 unbeaten football team.

            Dawkins is the first and only cadet to become Cadet Brigade Commander, class president, captain of the football team and a ‘star man,’ finishing in the top five percent of his class.

            Upon graduation from West Point he studied for three years at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and later received his doctorate from Princeton. He continued his Army career and was promoted to Brigadier General and served in the Pentagon as the Army’s Deputy Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy before retiring in 1983 after 24 years of dedicated service.

            But as hard as this may to believe, it was actually the sport of hockey that got him in the door of West Point.

            “I loved hockey,” recalled Dawkins. “You learned to love hockey if you grew up in Michigan.

            “A friend of mine, Larry Asbury, had gone to the Academy a year before I graduated from high school. We had gone to high school together at Cranbrook.

“Larry had stayed in contact with me and explained what a great time he was having at West Point. He had quite an influence on me becoming interested in West Point.

            “So at the end of my junior year in high school, my football coach went with me to me to see legendary Army football coach Red Blaik. We waited and finally saw him.”

            Within a few minutes, the conversation was over with and the duo went back to Michigan.

            To get into West Point you have to be recommended and appointed. That comes from a Congressman or Senator.

            “By the time I applied, all of the Congressmen and Senators had given out their principle appointments,” said Dawkins. “I was able to get an alternate appointment.

            “It allowed me to take all of the entrance, medical and scholastic exams. Which I passed.

            “What I later found out is that the athletic coaches at West Point have a claim on a number of people that they can pull in from the qualified alternate pool. I got my letter in June of my senior year explaining that I had been accepted into West Point through this category.

            “Only later, once I got to West Point, that I found out that it was their hockey coach, Jack Riley, not Blaik, who had selected me out of the qualified alternate pool. I suspect to this day that it was my friend, Larry Asbury, who must have talked to Riley about me and my hockey career back in Michigan.”

            Dawkins would go on to earn three letters on the hockey team during his time at West Point and was a top-scoring defenseman, serving as the assistant captain his senior year. He went on to explain about his love of hockey.

            “It was the sport I really enjoyed playing the most,” continued Dawkins, now 75.  “If you could hit it with a stick, throw it or chase it I played it.

            “Jack Riley was a remarkable person (Riley coached the gold medal winning 1960 U.S. men’s hockey team).  He was one of the greatest motivators I’ve ever been with as far as a coach goes.

            “We played on Smith Rink at West Point. I think it was the largest ice rink in North America at the time.

            “I think Army won every third period we played at home because the surface was so big. The opposition was so exhausted by the time they got to the third period.

            “We practiced on it every day so we were used to it.”

            Dawkins only had one problem to deal with as a hockey player.

            “The football season and hockey season overlapped,” explained Dawkins. “The hockey team had already played three or four games before we would get to the Army-Navy football game.

            “So the Army-Navy game would be on a Saturday. I would play the game, take off Sunday and be at hockey practice on Monday.

            “I didn’t have a lot of transition time from one sport to another. It was just something I had to put up with.”

            Interestingly one of Dawkins most memorable hockey experiences occurred following graduation from West Point.

            “A friend invited me to practice with the Detroit Red Wings,” explained Dawkins. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

            “I jumped at the chance. It was a couple of weeks before the Red Wings opened their season.

            “So they allowed me to warm up with the team and then they had a scrimmage. I was put on a line with Gordie Howe.

            “I played against a team that had Red Kelly on defense and Terry Sawchuk in goal. So we began playing and before you knew it I had scored a goal.

            “Things got a little rougher after that because these guys are competitors.   But I ended up scoring another goal. That’s when things really got rough.

            “I was simply trying to keep from getting hurt out there. And wouldn’t you know it, I scored again.

            “After that third goal, Sawchuk broke his stick over the crossbar and went in the locker room and wouldn’t come back out.

            “My brief NHL career and hockey career was over.

            “It was time for me to move on.”

            And move on he did.

VETERANS DAY SPECIAL: Senator Ortt: Hockey & Military Do Mix



In the movie “Cutting Edge” the character Doug Dorsey (played by actor D. B. Sweeney), who portray a former Olympic hockey player, is seen looking at a photo taken of himself smelling the ice. He remarks that when he would enter an ice arena he always liked to smell the ice because it had a certain odor. 

While that may seem a bit strange to some people, to anyone who has spent a good portion of their lives in ice rinks it makes perfect sense.

One of those people it makes perfect sense to is Senator Robert G. Ortt, a New York State Senator for the 62nd District.

Ortt should know. He began skating at the age of two and hasn’t stopped even though a great deal of his time is spent serving the public he represents in the NYS Senate.

“I began skating on a pond with my dad at two,” recalled Ortt, a native of North Tonawanda. “I started playing organized hockey at five and played right on through my high school days.

“But even today when I walk into a hockey rink, there is that smell of the ice. It brings back a lot of hockey memories for me.

“To me, there is something relaxing about just smelling the ice. I don’t even have to be on skates to get that relaxing feeling.”

Ortt was a goalie who played for the Wheatfield Blades organization at, what was then known as “Sabreland, but what today is known as Hockey Outlet.

For nearly a decade and one-half Ortt played competitive hockey. He played high school hockey for St. Joeseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo.

“My senior year (1996-97) we finished ranked number three in New York State,” remembered Ortt, who served as Mayor of North Tonawanda prior to becoming a State Senator. “That was the year we won the Western New York Federation Championship, beating St. Francis to win it.”

One of the most influential people in Ortt’s hockey career was his dad, Robert Ortt Sr.

“My dad was either my coach or an assistant coach for many, many years,” said Ortt, who resides with his wife, Meghan, in North Tonawanda. “And I now realize that it wasn’t easy being a dad, being the coach and having your son on the same team.”

One other individual that Ortt felt was very influential in his hockey career was his high school coach, John Mickler. The Senator recalled a defining moment in his hockey career in high school.

“I remember that championship game we were in, I believe we were down, 3-1,” commented Ortt. “I had just given up the third goal and it was what I thought a soft goal.

“I thought for sure that the coaches were going to pull me. I was at the far end of the ice and would have to make a longer skate past the oppositions bench to our bench.

“But Coach Mickler didn’t pull me. I heard later that he told the assistant coach on the team, “Bobby’s going to fight this one out.”

“I was always thankful that he believed in me enough to keep me in such a big game. We did come back to win.

“And I appreciate that belief in me to this day.”

Why did Ortt become a goalie?

“Probably for the same reason I got into politics,” he replied jokingly. “I began the game as a defenseman who liked to stop the puck.

“But I always looked at goalies as being the difference makers. I guess I just wanted to be the player who made the difference in a game.

“I know it can be a lonely position as well. So you can see how it relates to my political life today.”

Ortt also served in the NY Army National Guard. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghan Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge of recognition of his service.

“I think being on team in hockey and learning the ‘team concept’ helped me when I entered the military and being on a ‘team’ in the army,” stated Ortt, the son of Suzette and Robert Ortt. “I also believe that the competitive spirit I picked up in hockey has helped me in my political career.

“I think a lot of what I learned as a hockey player has helped me in life. As a hockey player I had to be focused and disciplined.

“You have to be the same in life and the job I know have.”

Ortt tells a light-hearted story that happened to him while he was in Afghanistan.

“I was on a Canadian base,” said Ortt. “This was part of a NATO-led mission.

“At their camp the Canadian’s had constructed a street hockey rink. They had a league and there was a Canadian team and a US team.

“At another base about 40 miles from us there was another rink, as well as a Tim Horton’s that had been constructed there and operated and staffed by a group of Canadians. Just before I got there I found out that Don Cherry (of Hockey Night In Canada Fame) and Mats Sundin had just visited the base with the Stanley Cup.

“I travelled 7000 miles to a place most people don’t want to be in. But I was around Canadians and hockey.

“While we were still in danger and had to do battle, there was still some down time where you could take your mind off the situation, even if only for a few minutes.

“The military and hockey all in one deployment to Afghanistan. Pretty amazing.”

Cornell’s Barron and Malinski Collect ECAC Hockey Weekly Honors


Cornell Men’s Hockey’s Morgan Barron, Sam Malinski Collect ECAC Hockey Weekly Honors

ITHACA, N.Y. — ECAC Hockey announced Monday that Cornell men’s hockey junior forward Morgan Barron has been named the league Player of the Week and freshman defenseman Sam Malinski has repeated as Rookie of the Week.

Barron led the league in goals (four) and overall scoring (six points) over the weekend in Cornell’s ECAC Hockey and Ivy League sweep of Brown and Yale at Lynah Rink. The New York Rangers draft pick had power-play goals in both games, with the last capping a hat trick in the opening 23 minutes of a 6-2 rout of the Bulldogs. It was Barron’s first hat trick at the collegiate level. Having now posted multiple points in all four of Cornell’s early-season games, Barron currently leads the country with a scoring average of 2.50 points per game.

Meanwhile, Malinski is tied for the national lead among all defensemen and among all freshmen with an average of 2.00 points per game after his four points over the weekend. He scored the game-winning goal in Friday’s 4-1 victory against Brown while also sprinkling in three assists over the two-game set, including a highlight-reel pass on sophomore defenseman Joe Leahy’s goal in the first period against Yale.

It’s the second straight week Malinski has earned the league’s weekly top rookie honor, which was last done by Dartmouth’s Drew O’Connor during the first two rounds of the playoffs last year. The last Cornell men’s player to be tabbed ECAC Hockey Rookie of Week in consecutive periods was junior goaltender Matthew Galajda, who took the honors Feb. 13 and Feb. 20, 2018.

Cornell returns to action this weekend with a trip to the North Country, starting with a rematch of the 2019 ECAC Hockey Championship game when it takes on Clarkson at 7 p.m. Friday in Potsdam. The trip concludes with a 7 p.m. Saturday game against St. Lawrence at SUNY Canton’s Roos House Ice Arena.

Weekend Special: NU & RIT Tie


Cooley’s Highlight-Reel Goals Help Niagara Tie RIT, Earn Bonus Point

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Niagara men’s hockey team earned its first conference points of the 2019-20 season following a 2-2 tie at RIT. The Purple Eagles got goals from Ludwig Stenlund and Eric Cooley in regulation. After five minutes of overtime, Niagara played into its first-ever Atlantic Hockey double overtime period, where Cooley scored again to steal an extra point in the standings.
Game Recap

•         After the Tigers were called for the first penalty of the game, Stenlund made them pay just 14 seconds into Niagara’s man-advantage. The sophomore muscled a shot through from the right faceoff dot to put the Purple Eagles up 4:35 into the game.

•         RIT found itself with a partial breakaway chance just a few minutes later, but Jared Brandt hustled back and got in position to pry the puck off the stick and give Chad Veltri an easy opportunity to pass the puck to his forwards.

•         With the Tigers whacking away at a loose puck in front of the Niagara net, Veltri kept cool and was able to get his body in front of the puck to keep it out. With the help of the left post, the Purple Eagles cleared the puck and neutralized the chance.

•         Late in the first, a giveaway by Niagara at the side of its own net gave RIT a quick look and a shot, but Veltri was on his toes and jammed his skate to the post to seal off the goal and keep the Tigers off the board.

•         Midway through the second, Cooley started a furious attack for the Purple Eagles when he brought the puck in close from behind the RIT net. His attempt slipped through the crease and onto Stenlund’s stick, but Stenlund was unable to get a clean shot away. The Puck the bounced to Chris Harpur, but his attempt was blocked before reaching the goalie. Stenlund had another long look but RIT’s Logan Drackett caught the puck and held on for a faceoff.

•         With Ryan Cox camped out behind the RIT net, the sophomore gave Ryan Cook a brilliant one-time chance, but the shot was saved and held for a faceoff.

•         On the power play late in the middle frame, Reed Robinson had a wide-open net with Drackett on his stomach well off the crease, but the puck went wide and into the glass.

•         After RIT scored to take a 2-1 lead in the third, Niagara responded less than two minutes later to tie the game again. Luke Edgerton skated down the left flank and put the puck in front for Cooley, who did a 180 and put the puck in with this back to the net.

•         Veltri stonewalled RIT on a long possession for the Tigers, with his second and toughest save coming on a pass in front that forced him to go post-to-post to grab the puck.

•         With less than a minute to play in the third, RIT once again had the puck in deep for an extended time, but Veltri came up huge and rejected two more quality shots to send the game into overtime.

•         Serving a penalty for too many men, Niagara started its first-ever “bonus point” overtime period down a man in a 4-on-3. The Purple Eagles successfully killed it off, with Veltri making severak saves to stifle the onslaught of RIT chances.

•         With 39 seconds left in the second overtime, Cooley scored again and lifted an off-balance, one-handed shot attempt over the shoulder of Drackett to earn the extra point in jaw-dropping fashion.

Coach’s Corner

•         Head coach Jason Lammers: “It was awesome. I told the guys I was proud of the way they hung in there.”

•         “I’m really happy for Chad in net. Our defense was good. Chris Harpur in particular played really well, and it was really cool to see Eric Cooley break out in this one.”

Beyond The Boxscore

•         Stenlund’s goal gave him nine points (5 G, 4 A) in six career games against the Tigers.

•         Per NCAA rules, Cooley’s strike in the second overtime counts to give the Purple Eagles the extra point in the Atlantic Hockey standings, but it will not count towards his individual total.

US U18 Team Wins Five Nations Championship

U.S. National Under-18 Team Captures Five Nations Championship With 3-1 Win Over Sweden    
Team sweeps all four games played during tournament
SUNDSVALL, Sweden –   The U.S. National Under-18 Team topped Sweden, 3-1, to sweep all four games and take home the Five Nations championship Sunday afternoon at Sundsvall Energi Arena.Matthew Beniers (Hingham, Mass.), Brett Berard (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Hunter Strand (Anchorage, Alaska) all tallied for Team USA, while goaltender Drew Commesso (Norwell, Mass.) picked up his third win of the tournament in net.Beniers gave Team USA a 1-0 lead with a power-play score at 15:48 of the first period. Bordeleau took the original shot, which was blockered away by Swedish netminder, Jesper Wallstedt. Beniers sat on the doorstep and poked in the rebound for the game’s first goal. 

Dylan Peterson (Roseville, Calif.) also collected a helper on the score.Berard capitalized off a tremendous team effort to extend the lead to 2-0. Bordeleau raced back to the blueline to keep the puck in the offensive zone and circled it back below the net. Beniers hustled to be first to the puck and slid a no-look pass to a streaking Berard, who one-timed it into the back of the cage.

Strand made it three in a row for the Americans in the last minute of the middle period. In a big jumble behind the Sweden net, Chase Yoder (Fairview, Texas) somehow managed to find Strand in the crease, who connected on his shot with 41 seconds remaining to make it a 3-0 game.Sweden got one goal in the third period, but that was all they could muster as Commesso was a rock in net.

The American goaltender stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced and allowed just three goals in three games during the entire tournament.The tournament championship is this U18s’ group third consecutive top-3 finish in international competition after they placed second at the U17 Five Nations in February and took third at the 2018 Four Nations Cup last November.

2019 U18 Five Nations Tournament – Sundsvall, Sweden
Team USA Schedule – Nov. 6-10 – Sundsvall Energi Arena

(Local/ET)Broadcast / Recap
Wed., Nov. 6Czech RepublicW, 1-0Game RecapFri., Nov. 8SwitzerlandW, 6-2Game RecapSat., Nov. 9FinlandW, 3-2 (SO)
Game RecapSun., Nov. 10SwedenW, 3-1
Game Recap 

NOTES:  Matthew Beniers was selected as Player of the Game … Eamon Powell was selected as best defenseman of the tournament … Full tournament statistics can be found here … The Team USA homepage for the 2019 Five Nations can be found here … The Under-18 Team is led by head coach Seth Appert (Cottage Grove, Minn.), associate coach Nick Fohr (Grand Forks, N.D.) and assistant coach, Brent Darnell (Canton, Mich.).