Lakers continue hot start with home, road wins

Tyler Leimbrock

The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team continued its dominance at home on Friday, defeating SUNY Cortland, 6-1, at the Campus Center Ice Arena before earning its second road victory of the season Saturday against Utica College, 3-1, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The Lakers scored early and often in the first period en route to their fifth conference win of the season against the Red Dragons. Sophomore forwards Matt Singleton and Chris Brown, along with junior forward Andrew Mather each scored during a three-goal first period to pull away from Cortland in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Singleton scored the game’s first goal at 5:01 of the first period after Cortland goalie Mike Reilly lost track of the puck behind the net. After a large scrum for possession of the puck behind Reilly, Singleton emerged with the puck and skated toward the right side of the net. Reilly, who had no idea where the puck was, had his head turned in the opposite direction of Singleton, allowing Singleton to easily stuff home the puck past Reilly’s glove side.

Senior forward and assistant captain Chris Laganiere, who injured his shoulder in the final minute of the game against SUNY Plattsburgh, did not play, giving Brown the opportunity to start on the first line along with junior forward Ian Boots and senior forward Justin Fox. Brown did not disappoint, tallying his first career goal and first career assist. Brown gave the Lakers a two-goal lead just 13 seconds after Singleton’s goal with a perfectly placed wrist shot from in front that squeezed just inside the near side goal post past Reilly’s glove side.

"It’s been a long time coming, but it felt great obviously," Brown said. "It’s a huge weight off my shoulders and a lot of credit goes to Boots and Fox. They took me under their wing tonight and really made me feel comfortable."

"Chris [Brown] is a very good player and deserves to play," head coach Ed Gosek said. "It’s just hard to find spots in the lineup. I’m very happy for him. He showed that he’s very capable to be a good player for us."

The Lakers increased their lead to three after Mather capitalized on a 2-on-1 break led by sophomore forward Chris Ayotte. Ayotte skated the puck down the right side of the Red Dragons’ defensive zone and found Mather with a cross-crease pass to the left faceoff circle. Mather handled the pass and wristed a shot to the far side post, beating Reilly on his stick side.

Oswego State goalie Paul Beckwith kept the Red Dragons off the scoreboard for the first two periods, stopping all 24 shots he faced. Beckwith finished the game with 33 saves on 34 shots for his seventh win in net this season.

Boots gave the Lakers a four-goal cushion 46 seconds into the second period on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle past Reilly’s stick side. Sophomore forward Chris Muise was credited with the assist. Boots’ fifth goal of the season has him tied for the team-lead with sophomore forward Luke Moodie.

The Red Dragons finally got on the board with 14:10 remaining in the third period. Following a slashing penalty enforced to senior defenseman and captain Kevin Huinink, Cortland’s Chris Kaleta took advantage of a rebound attempt in front of the net. Peter Lompado took a shot from the left side that was blocked away by Beckwith, but the rebound came right to the stick of Lompado in front of the net, who slapped home the puck past Beckwith’s glove side.

The Red Dragons took advantage of the power play, as well as the injury to junior defenseman Jared Anderson on the play. Anderson dove to knock the puck away from a Cortland player, but came down hard on his shoulder. Anderson was clearly favoring his shoulder as play was going on, and skated off the ice and into the locker room immediately following the goal.

"We had pretty good intensity and pretty good execution until we got up 3-0," Gosek said. "After we got up 3-0, I’m not sure what happened. We started taking shortcuts and not supporting our defense."

Oswego State took control of the third period after giving up Cortland’s lone goal, scoring the game’s final two goals and outshooting the Red Dragons 23-10. The Lakers received power-play goals from Moodie and sophomore forward Tyler Leimbrock 15 seconds apart.

The win over Cortland came just six days after the Lakers defeated SUNY Plattsburgh in a hard-fought rivalry game. Gosek was not surprised by the periods of lag in his team.

"You can say what you want, but it’s a difficult comeback after the emotion of last weekend," Gosek said.

On Saturday, sophomore forward Paul Rodrigues scored twice, including the eventual game winner with 11:11 remaining in the third period to help the Lakers defeat Utica. Rodrigues finished with three points, including an assist on sophomore forward Jon Whitelaw’s third period goal to give the Lakers a two-goal lead with 6:15 minutes remaining.

In just the second road game for the Lakers this season, Oswego State stayed out of the penalty box and kept the crowd of 3,624 silent for the majority of the contest. The Lakers committed just three penalties all game and gave the Pioneers only two power play opportunities.

The Pioneers (5-2-0 overall, 1-1-0 ECAC West) netted the game’s first goal in the second period after a scoreless first period that featured only two Utica penalties and 11 total shots. At 4:18 of the second period, Utica’s Steve Charest scored his third goal of the season, beating Beckwith. Evan Chlanda and Trever Hertz were awarded assists on the play.

The Lakers (8-0-0 overall, 5-0-0 SUNYAC) tied the game later in the second period with a power-play goal from Rodrigues. Rodrigues scored the game’s only power-play goal at 7:26 of the second period. Fox and senior defenseman and assistant captain Stephen Mallaro were credited with the assists.

Rodrigues gave his team the lead at 8:49 of the third period with his second goal of the night and fifth goal of the season, beating Pioneer goalie Nick Therrien.

Oswego State sealed its second road victory of the season and eighth straight victory on Whitelaw’s goal at 13:45 of the third period. Rodrigues was credited with the assist.

Beckwith earned his eighth win in as many starts in net for the Lakers, registering 19 saves on 20 shots. Therrien took the loss, finishing with 17 saves on 20 shots.

Oswego State continues its four-game road trip on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Iceplex to take on Morrisville State College.