By Warren Kozireski —
College at Brockport senior goaltender Matt Schneider spent two-plus season with the Syracuse Jr. Stars, one with The Gunnery Prep and two more years of junior hockey, the final one with the Florida Ells in the USPHL Elite before his first collegiate season in 2016-17.
Now closing in on 50 career starts and 12 games remaining in his final regular season, Schneider stands among the top netminders in program history in goals against average with a 2.88. Jake Moore’s 2.77 in tops for a career.
And his current season goals against average of 2.83 would slot him fourth all-time at Brockport.
“I didn’t know that; it’s pretty cool,” Schneider said in early January. “You want to leave an impression. It’s been an awesome four years and I would like to leave a legacy on it somehow.”
As the veteran with a junior and freshman the other goaltenders on the roster, one responsibility is to help groom his replacement. He was one of the first on the ice to congratulate Aidan Curry register his first collegiate win Jan. 4.
“I know how nervous I was the first game and how good it felt to win, so I was really happy for him.”
“It feels good to be a senior and be able to lead the team and do whatever I can to help. And the guys have been playing well in front of me, so that’s a big help too.”
Schneider had options before choosing to play in Brockport.
“It came down to a couple of schools at the end of my junior career and I just wanted to find a good fit and having the rink on campus was huge. I felt like the opportunity I had here to have an impact and play as a freshman to my senior year.”
For now, Schneider has the Golden Eagles sitting in fourth place, which would earn Brockport a home first round playoff game as they enter the second half of the SUNYAC conference schedule in a few weeks. He has started 11 of the team’s first 13 games and had six of their seven wins.
And an awareness that he is in the home stretch of his final collegiate season.
“Every time you hit the ice you kind of hits you a little bit that it might be your last time or your last chance and you’re trying to soak it all in—practice or games, everything.
“Even this barn; it’s been home for four years and I’ll definitely miss it. I remember beating Plattsburgh on the road 1-0 for the first time as a freshman and that will be something I take with me forever.
“And there have been a lot of games here in the home barn that the fans and the atmosphere that I know when I’m sitting in a chair when I’m older that I’ll think back to those games.
“I have the puck from my first win and my first SUNYAC win and first shutout; stuff like that. The tape is a little worn on them now since they were from my freshman year since I got those, but I’ll have those for the rest of my life for sure—they’ll go wherever I go.”