Playoff picture becoming clear for Lakers

VsMorrisville

With just a week remaining in the regular season, the SUNYAC playoff picture is coming into focus. Three teams have cemented their seeding while the remaining three eligible teams jostle for positioning. SUNY Geneseo, Buffalo State and SUNY Morrisville are ineligible for postseason play, automatically clinching playoff spots for the six eligible teams.

The Oswego State Lakers claimed the number one seed and home ice advantage throughout the SUNYAC playoffs following a 5-3 victory at Morrisville on Saturday night. The regular season title is the team’s first since 2007, when they went on to win the first NCAA Division III National Championship in the school’s history.

The Lakers currently hold the number one ranking in Division III and are unbeaten in SUNYAC play. Oswego State finishes its season on the road against SUNY Brockport on Friday, Feb. 19 and Geneseo on Saturday, Feb. 20. The Lakers will host a semifinal playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 27 against the lowest-seeded team remaining. If victorious, the Lakers would host the SUNYAC final on Saturday, March 6. The Lakers finished the regular season 14-0-0 at the Campus Center Ice Arena.

The Lakers’ archrival, SUNY Plattsburgh, clinched the second seed and a first-round bye in the SUNYAC playoffs following a 4-1 victory at home against SUNY Fredonia. The Cardinals will host a semifinal playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Ronald B. Stafford Arena against the highest-seeded team remaining. The Cardinals finished the regular season 9-1-1 at home, losing to Oswego State and tying SUNY Potsdam. Plattsburgh finishes their season on the road against Potsdam.

Fredonia is the third and final team to have clinched their respective seed. The Blue Devils have clinched the third seed in the SUNYAC playoffs following a victory over Potsdam coupled with a Brockport loss to Geneseo. An 8-5-2 SUNYAC record is good enough to host a SUNYAC first round game on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at Steele Hall against the sixth-seeded team. If the Blue Devils move on to the SUNYAC semifinal round, they will face Plattsburgh, who they are 0-2 against this season.

The remaining three teams (Brockport, Potsdam and SUNY Cortland) are still fighting for positions among the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds. Brockport currently sits in fourth place, two points in front of fifth-place Potsdam. The Golden Eagles finish out the season with home games against Oswego State and Cortland, while the Bears finish the season with a home game against Plattsburgh. Brockport will clinch the fourth seed and a home playoff game in the SUNYAC quarterfinal round with one win in their final two games or a Potsdam loss to Plattsburgh. Potsdam would need a win against Plattsburgh and two losses by Brockport to clinch the fourth seed.

Rounding out the sixth seed at the moment is Cortland, with an unimpressive 4-10-0 SUNYAC record. The Red Dragons can move up to the fifth seed if they win their remaining two road games against Geneseo and Brockport and Potsdam loses to Plattsburgh.

If the standings remain unchanged following this weekend’s game, the quarterfinal games would have Cortland traveling to Fredonia and Potsdam traveling to Brockport. If Fredonia wins their quarterfinal game, the Blue Devils will meet Plattsburgh in the semifinal game, sending the winner of the Brockport/Potsdam game to Oswego State. If Cortland were to upset Fredonia, the Bears would play the Lakers in the semifinal round, sending the winner of the Brockport/Potsdam game to Plattsburgh. If Plattsburgh and Oswego State defend home ice in the semifinal round, the rivals would meet in the SUNYAC final at the Campus Center Ice Arena.