Special to the OBSERVER
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the SUNYAC men's hockey seeding scenarios are complicated.
Oswego and Plattsburgh have nailed down the top two seeds, first-round byes, and home ice for the semifinal games next Saturday. Fredonia State could finish anywhere from third to fifth place and so, too, could Buffalo State - adding intrigue to Friday's game between the Blue Devils and Bengals at the Steele Hall Arena.
Fredonia State senior Billy Sanborn will look to help the Blue Devils past arch-rival Buffalo State tonight at the Steele Hall Ice Arena. A lot will be on the line, as the Blue Devils and Bengals will be battling for playoff positioning.
Opening faceoff is 7 p.m.
Rather than consider all the scenarios, spelled out in mind-numbing detail by Russell Jaslow at USCHO.com, Fredonia State head coach Jeff Meredith has chosen to simplify things for his team.
"It's a battle against our rival," he said, "and it's for third place in what we feel is the strongest Division III hockey conference in the country."
"Momentum will be a key during this game, both generating it and controlling it, Meredith said. "Much like the playoffs, you want to be able to manage the swings in momentum. You want to try to settle in and not take a roller coaster of emotion up and down the whole night. Don't get too high when you score or too low if they score or a call goes against you just settle in, or to use a poker term, 'don't tilt'."
"As with all Buffalo State games, it will be a battle and come right down to the end, which is what playoff hockey is all about."
The playoffs don't actually begin until next Wednesday with a pair of first-round games. Whether or not Fredonia State or Buffalo State hosts one of those games will be determined tonight, unless the game ends in a tie (which is how their previous meeting ended, 3-3, on Dec. 2 at Buffalo).
Then, all sorts of tiebreakers could come into play.
NOTE: Blue Devil seniors Billy Sanborn, Chris LaBella, Kody Van Rentergem and Bryan Ross will be honored during Senior Night prior to the start of Friday's game.