Lakers receive contributions from unlikely players, teams

It’s beginning to feel a lot like hockey season as we turn the calendar to December, snow pops up in our extended forecast and the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team is ranked No. 1. For most of us, hockey season began back in October. But for those who can’t bear the sight of a puck until the leaves are off the trees and the winter jackets come out of hibernation, now is the time to start paying serious attention to this team. Nine games in, and here are this week’s observations.

What can Brown do for you? Congratulations are in order for sophomore forward Chris Brown, who was placed on the Lakers’ first line for a pair of games as Chris Laganiere nursed an injury. Brown netted his first collegiate goal against SUNY Cortland at home on Nov. 12 and garnered first star honors after adding an assist. As a reward for his solid play, Brown remained in the lineup for the Lakers’ win at Morrisville State College.

Lightning storm brewing. Sophomore forward Jon Whitelaw ended a goal-less streak that had extended six games (a long time for the reigning SUNYAC Rookie of the Year), when he scored the Lakers’ third goal at Utica on Nov. 13, a 3-1 victory for Oswego State. Whitelaw went on to score the next game against Morrisville as well, so keep an eye out for "White Lightning" to strike in the next few weeks.

A "Hank"ering to get back. Junior defenseman Hank Van Boxmeer returned from injury earlier than many expected as he suited up at "The Aud" in Utica on the Nov. 10, replacing Jared Anderson in the lineup. Van Boxmeer, who scored only one goal in last year’s regular season, picked up his first goal of the season with a power-play goal at Morrisville.

Thank you Plattsburgh? The Oswego State Lakers have the Plattsburgh Cardinals to thank for their current No. 1 ranking in the latest USCHO.com Men’s Hockey Poll. Despite the Cardinals’ down year so far (3-4-0 in conference), their victory over defending national champion Norwich in the Plattsburgh Primelink Tournament over Thanksgiving break helped the Lakers gain the majority of first place votes. Oswego State received 17 out of a possible 20.

Streak Stoppers. Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena in Geneseo is where Oswego State’s 22-game winning streak was stopped in its tracks last season. The Ice Knights came away with a 3-1 victory in the final regular season game of 2009-10. The Lakers head to Geneseo on Saturday night, where the Ice Knights could be looking to end another Oswego State streak, and hand the Lakers their first loss of the season. All of this depends on the outcome of Friday night’s matchup with SUNY Brockport. Geneseo is currently ranked No. 10 overall in the nation, at 7-2-2 overall and 4-1-1 in conference. The Ice Knights are second to only Oswego State in conference play.

With the semester winding down, the Lakers will look to keep a tight grasp on the No. 1 overall seed heading into Brockport and Geneseo this weekend. The final two games of the semester will take place with a home contest against Utica on Dec. 10 and a road game at Hobart on the day after. Oswego State will play four more games over the holiday break, but it gets the benefit of having all of them at home. The Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic takes place Dec. 30-31 and non-conference opponents Skidmore and Curry come to town in early January.