Men’s hockey hits historic mark, clinches playoff berth


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Senior Taylor Pryce and the Bengals get a W over Brockport on Friday’s Senior Night. The Bengals celebrated their six seniors: Jake Rosen, Anthony Beaumont, Nick Berst, Darren Young, Mike DeLaVergne and Pryce.

Francis Boeck, Associate Sports Editor

It wasn’t a perfect weekend for the Bengals, but it was just enough as the men’s hockey team reached two important milestones.

On Friday night, the Bengals defeated the Brockport Eagles, 2-1, on Senior Night as well and broke the team record for most wins in a season on Saturday.

Anthony Beaumont opened up the scoring Friday as the senior grabbed his own rebound late in the first period and buried it. Freshman Anthony Passero found senior Nick Berst at the point, and the shot went through to give the Bengals the 2-0 lead early in the second period.

Passero assisted both goals.

The Eagles fought back as Connor Hutchins took advantage of a power play to cut Buff State’s lead to 2-1.

Late in the third period, the Eagles had a two-man advantage in the final minutes of the game. The Bengals showed great fortitude, stepping up even as Brockport pulled the goalie to make it 6-on-3.

“When we got the 2-0 lead we should’ve stepped on the gas,” Berst said. “We finished the game well. It showed the determination of our guys.”

The one-goal lead looked in danger with the lopsided advantage late in the game.

“We played pretty well. They had some chances and have some dangerous guys,” Head Coach Steve Murphy said. “It was nice to see us win a close game.”

With the win, the men’s hockey team broke the record for wins in a season (16), breaking the mark set by last year’s 15-win team. The accomplishment means a lot for many of the seniors.

“My freshman and sophomore year we were a .500 team. Going into my junior year, we only had a few new recruits and we held it together,” Berst said. “We had goal in mind that the following year had to be a better year.”

The seniors took the feat as an accomplishment shared by all the teams of the past few years leading up to this one.

“Anytime you set a school record it’s nice,” Murphy said. “It meant a lot to the guys in the locker room. It’s not about the coaching staff. We want them to be successful. Those are the guys that set the record.”

Most importantly for Buffalo State, they also clinched a playoff berth with the win.

Saturday, the Bengals had scoring chances but couldn’t convert in a 3-0 loss in Geneseo.

The Bengals and Knights went back-and-forth in a scoreless first period. In the second, the Knights scored back-to-back goals in matter of three minutes.

Buff State fought back in the third, but the Knights’ defense tightened up. Geneseo scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway with less than three minutes left to put the game away.

The Bengals had their chances as they had five power play opportunities. Buff State has not converted on their last 15 man-advantage chances. The penalty issues also continued as the Bengals took six penalties in the loss.

“We played a good first 25 minutes,” Murphy said. “After a mix-up in our own zone and a bad line change we spotted them two goals. They just shut us down after that.”

Although they’ve already clinched a playoff berth, the men’s hockey team still has a lot to fight for in the last weekend of the regular season. Depending on how games in the SUNYAC conference pan out, the Bengals could end up being anywhere from the No. 2 to No. 5 seed. That’s a difference between having a bye, second seed, or a home playoff game in the quarterfinals, seed three and four, and, if the fifth seed, they’ll have to go on the road for the quarterfinals.

The Bengals recognize that a home playoff game would be a tremendous advantage.

“It’s huge,” senior goalie Mike DeLaVergne said. “We would rather be home, especially since we have a quick turnaround.”

The Bengals have two road games to finish out the regular season. Buff State travels to Cortland on Friday night, then to top-seeded Oswego on Saturday. Both games have a 7 p.m. face off.

“We have to look at every game like were playing Oswego,” Beaumont said.

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