The Red Dragons wasted no time to get the ball rolling for the first game of the weekend. Max Stern scored at the 1:06 mark of the first period. Only fourteen seconds later, Tommy Farr notched his first of the season on a pass by Gary Krupa. Cortland then controlled the puck for the remainder of the period letting their goalie, Lou Vetri, face only 6 shots. Cortland picked up the pace towards the end of the period scoring two goals in the final 30 seconds by Max Stern and CJ Gilcrist. The second period saw much of the same Cortland dominance as they scored three more goals and only gave up 3 shots. Cortland goals were scored by Farr on the only power play of the game, freshman Tom Hughes, and Brendan Joyce. The final period saw Syracuse put only one shot on Vetri, their 10th shot of the game. The Red Dragons put three
more goals on the board to shut down the Orange. With Lou Vetri turning away 10 shots, he secured the shutout for the Dragons in their first game of the season. Stars of the game were #1- Max Stern (4 goals), #2- CJ Gilcrist (2 goals, 1 assist), and #3- Tommy Farr (2 goals, 1 assist).
The second game on the schedule for Cortland was the Oswego Lakers. This match up was hyped all week leading up to the puck drop by the ECRHA as they deemed it a "Feature Game". Each team was looking forward to the highly anticipated game as they each knew how much it would sway the early season momentum.
Cortland would waste no time setting the tone as the first line of Farr and Joyce skated the puck down the middle cycling in the Laker zone. Joyce found Farr on a back door pass to put the Dragons up 1-0 just 1:05 into the feature game. Cortland extended its lead to 3-0 on goals by Gilcrist and Stern, both assisted by defenseman Sean Glynn. However, Oswego found a bit of fire and scored 2 goals in the final minute and 10 seconds to head into the break with Cortland leading 3-2. Each team tallied three penalties a piece in the first stanza, while only one power play goal was scored by the Lakers Brian Gambardella.
Oswego wasted no time in tying up the game as Tyler Barbariantz scored on rookie Dragon netminder Jay Sartorius on a slapshot from the point just 20 seconds into the second. Gilcrist quickly regained momentum for Cortland as he slid a backhanded shot past the Oswego goaltender Chris Galante to put the Red Dragons back on top 4-3, two minutes into the second. Tommy Farr then took a questionable penalty as he was called for a trip on his brother Billy in the corner of the offensive zone. This sent the Lakers back on the man advantage where they capitalized to even the game up again at four. While penalties by Oswego filled the middle of the period, with Cortland's Bob Motto reciving the only call for the Dragons (a 10 minute misconduct). Cortland's Max Stern struck once again on the power play to put them up by one goal heading into the third and final period of the game and weekend.
Oswego found momentum after killing off carry-over penalties from the second to knot the game back up at five. The penalties started to come at a more constant pace starting at the 4:04 mark of the third when Cortland's Farr was pushed into Oswego's goalie by the Laker's James Schunk. After the play, Schunk went after Farr, cross-schecking him from behind sending him to the locker room. Just seconds later, Oswego's Danny Gambardella was called for a hook putting the Red Dragons on the power play once again. Stern found the back of the net for his hat trick goal, and his 7th goal on the weekend, putting Cortland on top 6-5 with 6:15 left to play in the game. Just 30 seconds later, Tom Hughes found the back of the net on an even strength three on three play. After the Hughes goal, things got nasty between the two teams. Hughes was targeted by the Lakers and was
involved a scuffle while Stern stepped in to help his teammate. The final three minutes of thegame saw eight penalties, 6 by Oswego and 2 by Cortland. Freshman rookie Chris Fidotta found the twine for the eighth and final goal of the game on a one on one dangle around a Laker forward, "a shoe in for play of the week" called by ECRHA's Ian Prescott. Subsequently Fidotta was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty for riding his stick in celebration of his goal. Cortland came away with the win 8-5, evening up the all-time matchup with the Lakers at two wins a piece.
With the Cortland Red Dragons skating away from the weekend with a 2-0 record, they sit alone in first place of the ECRHA's Division III Northern Conference. Although the Dragons have only played two regular season games, they have not lost yet this season (5 wins). After the weekend Cortland has many names showing up on the leader boards. Max Stern finds himself in first place in goals with 7, first in points with 7, and first in star points with 6. CJ Gilcrist is placed in second in goals with 4, and tied for second in points with 5. Sean Glynn, who has made the transition to defense this season with ease, is in first place in assists with 4. Veteran Gary Krupa, who led the team in points last season finds himself tied for second in assists with 3. Captain Tommy Farr comes in tied for third in goals with 3, tied for second in points with 5, and tied for fourth in assists with 2. Goalies Lou Vetri and Jay Sartorius sit atop the wins leaders with one each. Vetri has the only shutout in the league thus far, making him a sure starter for the All-Star game, as preseason and early stats would show.
Cortland has three weeks off until their next and final weekend of the Fall semester. The four games will take place in Pottstown, PA, a venue where Cortland has not traveled before. Opponents for the Pottstown event will be Loyola, who Cortland beat 10-1 in preseason, Ramapo, who the Dragons also beat in preseason 13-0, Lehigh, Cortland holds a 1-0 lifetime record against the Mountain Hawks, dating back to last season, and either Syracuse or Oswego.
Be on the lookout for scores and standings of the Southern Conference over this weekend as those three teams kick off their season. Also, with Cortland and Oswego being a feature game over the past weekend, look out for game highlights and plays of the week here on this website and on www.ecrha.net.