‘Battle by the Lake’: postseason edition


The Bengals will host Fredonia on Wednesday in a No. 4 versus No. 5 seed in the SUNYAC tournament.

Francis Boeck, Associate Sports Editor

The Buffalo State men’s hockey team clinched a home playoff game in the SUNYAC tournament after beating Cortland on Friday night. On Saturday night, they found out they would be hosting Fredonia in the quarterfinals.

The Bengals will look to take those positives into playoffs as it’ll host the Fredonia Blue Devils on Wednesday night in the SUNYAC quarterfinals.

The Blue Devils are 13-10-2, 7-8-1 SUNYAC and have earned the No. 5 seed in the SUNYAC playoffs. Before losing both of its games this past weekend, Fredonia won four straight games and have a 5-3 record during the spring semester. The Blue Devils are led by Sam Wilber, the fifth-leading scorer in the conference with 14 goals and 20 assists this season.

The Bengals had a home-and-away with Fredonia in the first weekend of the season. In the first game, Fredonia got the best of the Bengals in a 4-2 decision. In the second game, the Bengals and the Blue Devils tied at Buffalo State Ice Arena.

But the Bengals can’t be focused on what happened in November, as everything changes come playoff time.

“It’s playoff hockey. This is when your big-time players need to step up, and then you get contribution from unsung heroes,” Buffalo State head coach Steve Murphy said. “It’s a completely new season. I’m looking forward to seeing who steps up.”

The question of  ‘Who will step up?’ is an open question for the Bengals. Buffalo State has been lucky with 11 players who have scored at least ten points or more this season. The Bengals have also gotten some new contributions lately, as freshmen Colin O’Connor and Jonathan Colley are starting to find their scoring touch in late in the season.

The game Wednesday gives a little extra special meaning to the ‘Battle by the Lake.’ It’s something that veterans junior Zachary Stein and senior forward Anthony Beaumont are excited about.

“I like playing against Fredonia,” Stein said. “I know a couple guys on the team. They’re more physical than other teams.”

The loss put a chip on the team’s shoulders.

“We have some payback to give them,” Beaumont warned. “They are going to have a rude awaking as they come into the Bengal cage.”

In order to come out on top, the Bengals need to wait for their moment. If the Bengals stay patient, they will be more efficient in the offensive zone.

“They’re a gritty team and do all the little things,” Power admitted. “The key will be to stay patient and try to capitalize on their mistakes.”

Last year, the Bengals earned the 2-seed and got the bye. They ended up losing to Geneseo 6-1 in the semifinals.

“We get right into it Wednesday,” Murphy said. “We don’t have to sit here, wait a week and think about.”

Faceoff will be 7 p.m. against the Blue Devils.

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