Lakers take down Cardinals, win season series

For the first time since the 2005-06 season the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team swept the season series from arch-rival SUNY Plattsburgh. The Lakers followed up a 5-2 win in Plattsburgh on Nov. 7 with a 3-2 victory Saturday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena.
Freshman forward Jon Whitelaw scored the game-winning goal at 5:53 of the second period. Whitelaw’s shot squeezed through the leg pads of Cardinals goalie Josh Leis, who had nine saves. Whitelaw’s ninth goal of the season ended Leis’ night in net and was replaced by Ryan Williams. Williams was solid in net for the Cardinals, blanking the high-scoring Laker offense for the remaining 34:07 and saving 12 shots.
The Cardinals (13-3-4 overall, 9-2-1 SUNYAC) tightened the Laker lead to one at 7:18 of the third period when senior forward Phil Farrow lobbed a shot over Laker goalie Kyle Gunn-Taylor’s glove. Gunn-Taylor silenced the Cardinal offense down the stretch, earning his 13th consecutive win in net. Gunn-Taylor finished the game with 27 saves.
"I’m proud of our guys," head coach Ed Gosek said. "(In Plattsburgh) we played two good periods and one poor period, but got away with it. Tonight I was disappointed in our execution. I thought some players took some undisciplined penalties. We need to learn from this."
The Lakers (20-1-0 overall, 12-0-0 SUNYAC) jumped out to an early lead just 34 seconds into the game when senior forward and co-captain Neil Musselwhite wristed a shot over Leis’ right shoulder. Musselwhite’s goal sent the sold-out crowd into a frenzy, frantically waving their white towels and yelling at deafening levels.
"We have the best fans in Division III," Gosek said. "I say that because it’s a good mix between students and city people. What kid playing college hockey wouldn’t want to be in this game tonight?"
"We knew it was going to be pandemonium," Musselwhite said. "It makes it fun to play in this building. One of the best parts of playing at Oswego is the support of our fans, and we really appreciate it."
Plattsburgh woke up after the early goal, tying the game at 6:44 of the first period when junior forward Dylan Clarke’s shot trickled past the goal line. Clarke’s goal came while playing 4-on-4 hockey.
Oswego State would answer before the end of the first period on junior forward Justin Fox’s 11th goal of the season. Fox, who had missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury, beat Leis over his stick-side shoulder.
"Tonight was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in hockey," Fox said. "It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life."
Neither team managed any success on the power play; Oswego State went 0-for-6 with six total shots, while Plattsburgh went 0-for-7 with eight total shots.
Perhaps as rare as the Lakers being outscored in the final period (the Lakers held a 45-7 advantage in third period scoring) was the Lakers being outshot in the game. The Cardinals outshot the Lakers in all three periods and held a 29-24 advantage for the game. Oswego State came into the game outshooting their opponents 705-485.
The most unexpected event of the game occurred during the first period intermission when the fire alarm in the arena sounded after a glove placed on a heating element caught fire in the skate shop. The arena was evacuated, but was later refilled when it was determined that the arena was safe.
"I thought it slowed both teams down a little bit," Gosek said. "I thought both teams came out and there wasn’t a lot of flow, not a great pace the first five to ten minutes of the second period."
Oswego will play their last home game of the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday, February 5 against SUNY Cortland.