Sports Information Department – 112 Dods Hall
CONTACT: Jerry Reilly,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Devils, Bengals back in familiar roles
FREDONIA, N.Y. -- Fredonia State fought Buffalo State for playoff positions last season. Judging from the early results, the Western New York SUNYAC rivals might be fighting each other again in 2007-08.
With one quarter of the SUNYAC season in the books, the Blue Devils (3-3-2, 1-2-1 SUNYAC) and Bengals (2-5-2, 1-1-2 SUNYAC) are separated by one point in the conference standings. Both teams will look to change that when they meet for the first time this season, 7 p.m. Friday, at the Steele Hall Ice Arena.
"This game against Buffalo State has the potential to have big playoff implications," Fredonia State head coach Jeff Meredith said. "Buffalo State has gotten off to a similar start as us and I would expect to see a dogfight."
Last season, Buffalo State gained the slight upper hand, earning the No. 4 seed with 13 points to Fredonia State's No. 5 seed and 12 points. This season, the Bengals again hold a one-point edge, 4-3, with 12 conference games remaining through the end of the regular season.
Last weekend, the teams had similar results -- each tied with Potsdam and lost to Plattsburgh. The weekend previous, both teams were on the road on successive nights. Fredonia State defeated Brockport and lost to Geneseo, while Buffalo State upset Geneseo and tied Brockport.
"It seems like the Bengals are in the same situation as us," Meredith said. "They are working on figuring their game out and where all the personnel fits in."
Among the Bengals getting their first regular playing time are two sophomore goaltenders, Kyle Gunn-Taylor and Travis Moore. They have a combined 3.14 goals-against average as the successors to Sean Sheehan, an All SUNYAC honorable mention last season.
For the Blue Devils, junior Kevin Amborski and sophomore Pat Street have been their goaltending tandem. Amborski, the SUNYAC Tournament MVP last March, has struggled in the early going. He is 0-2-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average while Street is at 3-1-1 and 2.20.
"(Our) goaltending has been average so far but not at the level that we will need to compete at a Top 10 national level," Meredith said. "I am hopeful that that part of our game elevates along with our scoring."
Senior forward Neal Sheehan leads the Blue Devils with five goals and six assists, including five points in four SUNYAC games.
"Against Plattsburgh (last Saturday) we generated 40 shots on goal but were not able to come up with any goals (a 3-0 loss)," Meredith said. "By getting 40 shots on goal, we are on the right track but now need to bear down and finish those chances.
"At this point, our defensemen are the strength of our team. I like the way they move the puck and begin the breakout."
Offensively, Buffalo State is led by junior Jason Hill four goals and seven assists, including one game-winner and one goal resulting in a tie, and freshman Nick Petriello with five goals and five assists. Hill was Second Team All SUNYAC last season.
A former Fredonia State assistant coach, Buffalo State head coach Nick Carriere has led the Bengals to back-to-back playoff seasons, including the program's first SUNYAC Tournament home game -- a 2-1 quarterfinal double-overtime loss to the Blue Devils last Feb. 20. It was Fredonia State's first of their three straight road wins en route the 2007 SUNYAC title.