Lakers seek program’s second title in Minnesota

For the second straight year, the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team’s season will end in the NCAA Championships. This time, they hope it ends with a victory. The Lakers are one of the last four teams standing and will look to outlast Adrian College, St. Norbert College and defending champion Norwich University in an attempt to bring home their second national title in school history.

Titanic resurfaces. Freshman forward David Titanic had been regularly cracking the lineup for the last handful of games, but hadn’t been able to find the back of the net since Oct. 24, at Elmira College. His luck changed on Saturday, March 12, in the NCAA Quarterfinal against Bowdoin College. Titanic netted a pair of goals (including the game winner) in the 7-5 victory, a performance eerily similar to last season’s Bowdoin quarterfinal game when junior defenseman Hank Van Boxmeer scored twice after totaling only one goal during the regular season.

White lightning strikes twice. Sophomore forward Jon Whitelaw also tallied a pair of goals in the win over Bowdoin. Whitelaw’s numbers have been down this season (12 G, 16 A, 28 points) following his SUNYAC Rookie of the Year campaign in 2009-10 (12 G, 26 A, 38 points), and the Lakers are going to need his offense going forward. Whitelaw scored a huge goal in last year’s NCAA Semifinal in Lake Placid against St. Norbert.

Thanks for the memories. It was truly Senior Night back on Feb. 19; five of the seven seniors got on the scoresheet in the 7-1 victory over SUNY Geneseo. Chris Laganiere’s hat trick led the way while Owen Kelly and Justin Fox each scored goals as Stephen Mallaro and Dan Bremner picked up assists. Although he isn’t a senior, junior forward Ian Boots’ five-assist game shouldn’t go unnoticed either.

Déjà vu…all over again. The parallels between this season and the 2006-07 campaign are stunning. Not only did Oswego State lose the SUNYAC that season, but they lost it at home to Fredonia…in overtime. Sound familiar? Oswego State lost to Fredonia, 2-1, on Feb. 26, in overtime before the Blue Devils lost to Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC Championship. But it does not end there. Oswego State’s at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament saw them have to get through Norwich and St. Norbert en route to their eventual national title. If they do it again this season their opponent will be…you guessed it: Norwich or St. Norbert.

Yo, Adrian! The one team that wasn’t involved in the bizarre similarity situation between 2006-07 and this season is Adrian College. The Bulldogs will be Oswego State’s first opponent in Minneapolis, and will meet the Lakers with Division III hockey’s top offensive unit for the fourth consecutive season. The Lakers are going to need a big performance out of junior goalie Paul Beckwith and the defensive corps if they want to advance to the NCAA Championship Game.

The last month of Lakers hockey has been anything but flawless, but here they are yet again, two wins from a national championship. This team has the talent–they’ve shown flashes of brilliance, but also disturbing streaks of flatness at times. Can they buckle down for one weekend and bring the hardware back to the shores of Lake Ontario? I wrote at the beginning of the season that this team looked like a group of guys on a mission, and there is some unfinished business to attend to.