Club hockey sets sights on playoffs

Club hockey

In only its sixth year of existence, the Oswego State men’s club hockey team has become a legitimate force in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

With a 5-4 record on the year, the Lakers are in fourth place in their league and in the middle of the playoff hunt.

The Lakers are a very young team this year, comprised of 11 freshmen and seven sophomores. Despite their youth, the Lakers have made great strides in the opening weeks of the season. These improvements have been made as a result of the dedication and commitment of their young players.

"The entire freshmen class has been great," senior captain Matt Saramak said. "I was very uncertain going into the season, but am very confident now."

The Lakers’ confidence can be seen in their performance on the ice. Oswego State is averaging nearly four goals per game on the season.

One reason for the increased offensive output is the play of freshman forward Chris Covel. On the season, Covel has tallied eight goals and four assists for a total of 12 points

"Chris is a very talented player," Saramak said.

Strong play by the entire club hockey team has also caused the increased offensive performance.

"Were getting offense from our defense," Saramak said. "It’s not just our forwards making plays."

The Lakers are coached by Jay Peacock. Peacock is a volunteer and is in his fourth season as head coach. He stresses hard work and commitment to his players.

"He treats the team like any other college sport," Saramak said. "He is a very dedicated coach."

Each year, the Lakers hold open tryouts for any interested players. This year, around 60 players tried out and only 29 made the roster. Such heavy competition has made the Lakers a stronger team. Due to the stiff competition, players are forced to stay in shape during the offseason, therefore increasing the team’s productivity.

Oswego State club hockey has made great strides since its formation in 2003.

"We have come a long way in six years, and we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish," Peacock said.

Since joining the team in 2005, Saramak has also seen vast improvement. Compared to past years, Saramak believes this team has the right attitude and is more dedicated.

With that in mind, the Lakers are hoping to make a serious postseason run. "The main goal is to win our league and make nationals," Saramak said.

The season continues Friday, Nov. 6, with a busy weekend of hockey. The Lakers will face off with Ithaca University at home. On Saturday, Nov. 7, Oswego State will take the ice again at the Campus Center Arena as they play St. Bonaventure University.

Oswego State has made this season a little more special for reasons off the ice as well. The Lakers have dedicated the 2009-2010 season to the servicemen and women of the Untied States armed forces. In honor of our troops the Lakers will be wearing "Support our Troops" yellow ribbon decals on their helmets throughout the season.