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Nationally ranked Manhattanville visits Steele
FREDONIA, N.Y. -- Fredonia State started the second semester by winning four straight games against two second-division teams. The competition gets amped up Friday when the nationally ranked Manhattanville Valiants visit Steele Hall.
The Blue Devils (9-5-3) defeated Wentworth and Morrisville State twice each over the last two weekends. Those two teams have a combined record of 8-27-0.
The Valiants (9-3-1), on the other hand, are No. 7 in this week's USCHO.com Division III rankings. They were 21-2-5 last season and advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four before falling to Middlebury, 3-2, in a semifinal game.
"Our first four games of the semester," Fredonia State head coach Jeff Meredith said, "were against teams who were not at the top of their league. Getting off to a 4-0 start ... was nice and gave us momentum. "Manhattanville presents a whole different challenge. Keith Levinthal, their coach, has done a tremendous job with that program and always has them fine tuned and ready to go."
Levinthal is in his ninth season on the Purchase, N.Y., campus. His teams have posted a 142-60-19 record, including three straight 20-win seasons. The Valiants encountered a bump in the road in their most recent game, a 3-2 loss Jan. 11 to Potsdam. Still, they are allowing only 1.61 goals per game while killing penalties at a 90 percent success rate.
Fredonia State and Manhattanville have met once before, and it was earlier this season. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie Oct. 20 on the second day of the SUNYAC Challenge at Buffalo State. Manhattanville claimed the tourney title in a shootout. The Friday rematch -- faceoff is 7 p.m. -- is the Blue Devils' eighth and final non-SUNYAC game of the regular season. They are 3-3-1 in the previous seven games.
"This game is our last," Meredith said, "before getting into SUNYAC play for the second half playoff push. I think playing a team the caliber of Manhattanville will be good for us as next weekend we are back in conference with Brockport on Friday and Geneseo on Saturday."