Playing the same opponent on consecutive nights is fairly common in men's college hockey. Much rarer, at least for the Fredonia State Blue Devils, is when that opponent is another SUNYAC team.
Yet that's just what will occur when the Blue Devils play host to the Morrisville State Mustangs tonight and Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m. Saturday's game is the annual Pink The Rink event.
Not since the 2007-08 have the Blue Devils played a SUNYAC back-to-back, and that too, was against the Mustangs. The Blue Devils won both those games at Morrisville, 3-1 and 3-2.
Fredonia State and Morrisville State also played a back-to-back in 2006-07, yet that was before the Mustangs had joined the SUNYAC. There is no other record of a Fredonia State regular-season SUNYAC series against the same opponent on consecutive days.
"This weekend," Blue Devil head coach Jeff Meredith said, "is a two-part weekend for us, like most weekends, even though we are playing the same team both nights. It is two-part because the only game we want and need right now is (tonight's) game that is right in front of us."
The Blue Devils enter the weekend with seven points and the Mustangs with five points in the SUNYAC standings. Each is currently in a fight for the sixth and final playoff spot, which Fredonia State currently owns.
Fredonia State killed all five penalties last weekend in conference games against Oswego and Cortland, yet came away with only one point - in a 3-3 tie with Cortland after leading 2-0. Morrisville State's power-play has accounted for 29 of the team's 63 goals, so another strong Blue Devil penalty kill is important. In addition, the Blue Devills will look to carry their recent quick starts - they have scored the first goal in four of their last six games - into the middle portion of the game.
Doors open tonight at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in advance of the annual Pink The Rink game. Pre-sale tickets for Saturday are available until noon today at the athletic department office inside Dods Hall. Prices are $7 for adults, $3 for non-Fredonia State students and $2 for Fredonia State students with a valid ID.
HOOPS PREVIEW: Steele Hall abuzz this weekend
The Fredonia State men's and women's basketball teams continue conference play with doubleheaders tonight and Saturday in Steele Hall. It is unlikely that this weekend will produce the on-court 'fireworks' that occurred last weekend when three scoring records were set or tied and a major milestone was reached. On the sidelines, though, Steele Hall should be buzzing.
Friday is Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. Members of all Fredonia State athletics teams gave personal invitations to many of the professors who will be recognized as a group at the games. According to organizer and Assistant Athletic Director Megan Valentine, the event takes place "To recognize faculty and staff members who continually go above and beyond for their students and ultimately to better integrate academics and athletics on campus."
There will be a reception for the invitees from 5-7 p.m. in the Bob Steele Room.
Saturday at halftime during the women's basketball game, the FCA Lady Lions of Dunkirk - a seventh- and eighth-grade team - will participate in a scrimmage in celebration National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The Lions will meet with the Blue Devils' players after the game to talk some basketball and college life. There will also be about 20 raffle prizes, including some donated by the Buffalo Bills, Sabres and Bandits, as well as reduced admission.
Tip-off for the women on Friday vs. Cortland is set for 6 p.m. with the men following at 8 p.m. Saturday's contests vs. Oswego will be at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.
The Blue Devil men, 4-13 overall and 1-9 SUNYAC, dropped the game in Cortland earlier in the year despite a 20-point effort from sophomore guard Robert Lyles. For Cortland, senior captain Kevin McMahan, the SUNYAC's second leading rebounder (10.2 per game), registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in that contest.
The Fredonia State men also feature the conference's third-leading scorer in Tyrone Clark (20.8 per game). Clark is coming off a game at Buffalo State on Tuesday that saw him turn in 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. The high-flying senior has also become a crowd favorite with an assortment of dunks each game. Last weekend, Clark tied a 29-year old record with 45 points in a single game.
The Cortland men come into Steele Hall with a 5-5 conference record, and are 10-7overall.
The FSU ladies (9-7, 4-6) hope the home court gives them the advantage and look to avenge a close 82-75 road loss from earlier this season. The SUNYAC's leading scorer, Becky Hebert (22.0 ppg), poured in 29 points for the Devils in that game. The Red Dragons (11-6, 7-3) had two 20-point efforts coming from senior Megan Touhey (27) and sophomore Caysea Cohen (20).
Saturday afternoon, Fredonia State welcomes Oswego to town. The men and women each fell victim to the Lakers at Oswego earlier in the month. The Oswego women (6-11, 2-8) will play at Buffalo State the night before their contest in Steele Hall. The Laker men enter the weekend at 11-6 and 5-5.
In addition to Clark's record for the men last Friday, Hebert became the women's all-time leading scorer the same night. Saturday afternoon saw Jaimie Warren reached the 1,000-point plateau and a Plattsburgh player became that team's all-time leading scorer.