Geneseo knocks off top-ranked Lakers; playoffs await

GENESEO, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team is no longer perfect in SUNYAC play after falling to SUNYGeneseo, 3-1, Saturday night at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena in the conference finale for both teams.

The Ice Knights (13-10-2 overall, 9-6-1 SUNYAC) scored the game’s final three goals to hand the top-ranked Lakers their first loss in SUNYAC play this season and their first loss since an Oct. 24 loss to Elmira College. Oswego State had won 22 consecutive games before falling to Geneseo.

"I think [Geneseo] wanted it a little bit more than we did," head coach Ed Gosek said. "They had that extra incentive and I give them credit."

After a scoreless first period that saw the Lakers outshoot theIce Knights 17-7, freshman forward Luke Moodie netted the game’s first goal 5:26 into the second period. Moodie skated into the far side faceoff circle before wristing a shot past Ice Knight goalie Cory Gershon’s blocker side. The goal was Moodie’s 13th on the season.

Coming out of a timeout, the Ice Knights erased the Laker lead on sophomore forward Jonathan Redlick’s goal off of a rebound from sophomore forward Clint Olson’s shot from in front of the net. Redlick’s shot at 9:56 of the second period slipped past the outstretched glove of Laker goalie Kyle Gunn-Taylor, who frantically dove to his left side in an attempt to protect the lead.

Redlick’s goal energized the 2,435 fans in attendance for Geneseo’s Senior Night, as they continued their chant of "overrated"that started when the Lakers took the ice for opening warm-ups.

"Saturday is our championship game," Geneseo coach Chris Schultz told USCHO.com last Thursday. "We’re going to give them all we can handle."

Oswego State (23-2-0 overall, 15-1-0 SUNYAC) became unraveled midway through the second period, taking four penalties over a seven minute span. Sophomore defenseman Jake Yard capitalized on freshman forward Eric Selleck’s interference penalty with a slapshot from the point that navigated its way through traffic and into the back of the net. Yard’s power play goal at 17:27 of the second period gave the Ice Knights the lead heading into the second intermission.

"We have to improve on our discipline," Gosek said. "We came unfocused and lost our energy because of it. We didn’t channel our energy in the right direction and I think that’s an area to improve on."

The Lakers committed 10 penalties for a total of 36 penalty minutes. Freshman forward Paul Rodrigues and junior forward Chris Laganiere were each assessed 10-minute misconduct penalties in the third period, adding to the team’s frustration. Following Rodrigues’ misconduct penalty, junior defenseman Stephen Mallaro skated over to Rodrigues, pointing to his head and saying "keep your head."

The Ice Knights tightened their focus on the defensive end for the third period, trying to hold on to their potential upset bid. They held the Lakers’ high-powered offense to just nine shots in the third period and closed out the game with sophomore forward David Arduin’s deflection goal with just 4:51 remaining in the game. Arduin redirected Stefan Decosse’s shot from the blue line to secure the victory for the Ice Knights.

"We had a lot of good chances in the first period that we didn’t capitalize on," Gosek said. "There were some good opportunities we didn’t capitalize on in the second period. [Geneseo] played very well, played hard and those little plays that they made, we didn’t make."

The Lakers ran into a team on a mission Saturday night, playing a Geneseo side that had gone 4-0-1 since the NCAA banned them from postseason play following infractions. TheIce Knights were also honoring their six seniors while playing in front of the team’s largest crowd of the season.

"That’s no excuse for us," Gosek said. "That’s a playoff type game that we have to overcome adversity, the crowd’s emotions. Every game from here on out is that way. Disappointed? Yes. Discouraged? No."

"It feels great," Geneseo senior forward and co-captain Dan Brown said about defeating Oswego State. "It’s pretty special for us. Ever since we found out we couldn’t make the playoffs we ran the table, so it’s a pretty special feeling."

Gershon was stellar in net, recording 33 saves on 34 shots to improve to 5-4-1. Gershon and the Ice Knight defense limited the Lakers’ offense to just one goal. The only other team this season to hold Oswego State to one goal in a game was Elmira when they handed the Lakers their first loss of the season, 2-1.

Gunn-Taylor suffered his first loss in net this season, and his first as a Laker, falling to 16-1-0. Gunn-Taylor registered 20 saves on 23 shots.