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Devils look to avenge loss to Bengals
FREDONIA, N.Y. -- There's a sports axiom that states it's never easy to beat the same team three straight times in the same season. To do it four straight times? That could have been what Fredonia State would have been facing Tuesday night but for a 6-4 home loss to Buffalo State last Friday.
By losing, Fredonia State traded placed with Buffalo State in the SUNYAC standings. The Blue Devils (12-9-4, 5-7-2 SUNYAC) dropped into fifth place, while the Bengals (12-11-2, 6-7-1 SUNYAC) moved ahead of their Western New York rivals into fourth. Had the outcome been reversed, Steele Hall would have been the site for their SUNYAC Tournament first-round playoff game.
Instead, the teams will meet at the Buffalo State Sports Arena starting at 7 p.m., which Fredonia State head coach Jeff Meredith feels puts added pressure on the Bengals beyond that of simply trying to win a post-season game.
"We are looking forward to going to Buff State," Meredith said. "Having to play the same team again, I think it is a positive for us ... (and) having played at home for many rounds of the playoffs in past years, I can tell you that there is a pretty good amount of pressure to win at home and advance. Sometimes that pressure can be hard to deal with and for us as the road team, we don't have to deal with any distractions and can just focus on playing."
Meredith is faced with some lineup decisions, especially at goaltender. Pat Street, a freshman from Annapolis, Md., has started 19 of the 25 games, but hasn't finished either of the last two games. Another freshman, Kevin Amborski (Bloomfield), relieved Street in each of those games, including the final 23:33 last Friday. He has logged 48 minutes of ice time the last two games and has stopped 18 of 19 shots.
"I thought the difference was goaltending the other night," Meredith said. "At the Buff State end, Sean Sheehan played well and came up with some big saves, especially in the second period. At our end, I think we can play better and will need to in order to get on to the next round."
No. 6 Brockport plays at No. 3 Plattsburgh in the other SUNYAC semifinal Tuesday, with the two winners tonight advancing to a semifinal-round game Saturday. The lower of the two remaining seeds travels to No. 1 Oswego, while No. 2 Geneseo plays host to the higher remaining seed.
Notes: Three Blue Devils were named to the 2006-07 SUNYAC Ice Hockey All-Conference Team. Junior defenseman Steve Albert (Port Huron, Mich.) was chosen to the Second Team, while junior forward Neal Sheehan (Avon Lake, Ohio) and sophomore defenseman Colin Sarfeh (Laguna Nigel, Calif.) received honorable mention ... Tonight's game will be broadcast by Fredonia Radio Systems on the internet and over-the-air on WCVF (88.9 FM) ... Fredonia State's Sheehan scored all three goals in the Nov. 17 game at Buffalo State and has four goals and four assists in the three games.