Just one year ago the top seeded Red Dragons of Cortland were upended at home in heartbreaking fashion by the Plattsburgh Cardinals in the SUNYAC Championship Game. This tough loss has provided a little extra spark to the 2018 campaign for Cortland as they seek revenge and push to regain control of the SUNYAC crown. After 364 days, they will get their chance to avenge that very loss this Saturday (May 5th) when they host Plattsburgh once again with a SUNYAC Championship on line.
In order to earn this opportunity, the Red Dragons had to first face off against the 4th seeded Oswego Lakers. The 10-4 Lakers put forth a great effort and were able to stay in the game throughout the majority of the 60 minutes, but the Cortland attack led by Thomas McNaney and Devin Phelps, who each had a trio of goals to their name, was just too much for Oswego to handle.
Bobby Emerson, who led Oswego’s scoring attack with 4 goals, opened up the scoring just 1:38 into the game, giving the Lakers the early lead. However, that was followed up by 4 straight put passed Goalkeeper Kevin O’Donnell to end the first quarter and give Cortland a 4-1 lead. A few moments later, Emerson was able to net 2 goals and bring it back to a 1 goal game early in the 2nd. Goals by Phelps and Terrence Haggerty, Cortland’s leading scorer on the season, capped off the 2nd quarter and sent the Red Dragons into the locker room with a 6-3 lead.
After Oswego cut it to 6-4, it looked as if Cortland was primed to pull away when they asserted their dominance and rattled off 3 quick goals, which made it a 5 goal deficit for the Lakers. The teams would then go on to trade a pair of goals to end the 3rd as it was 11-6 heading to the 4th, where the game got a little chippy. A few crucial mistakes by the Red Dragons allowed Oswego several man-up opportunities, which allowed them to cut the score to 11-8 before Dean Riley would add his 2nd goal of the game and Devin Phelps cashed in on his 3rd, which proved to be the dagger. Cortland prevailed by a score of 13-10.
Head Coach Steve Beville earned his 200th win at Cortland in this semifinal, but there is no doubt a win Saturday and 10th SUNYAC title for Beville would be the perfect icing on the cake.