Junior forward and assistant captain Jon Whitelaw continued his hot start to the season for the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team, registering three goals and an assist over the weekend in victories over SUNY Geneseo and the College at Brockport.
The Lakers defeated Geneseo, 4-2, on Friday night and defeated Brockport, 7-1, on Saturday night, recording a combined 11 goals and 100 shots during the two-game stretch.
In a matchup of two ranked teams, the Lakers jumped out to a 1-0 lead over the Ice Knights on Whitelaw’s first goal of the weekend at 12:20 of the first period. Junior forward Luke Moodie found Whitelaw with a pass from the right side of the ice to the top of the right faceoff circle. Whitelaw one-timed a shot that beat Geneseo goaltender Adrian Rubeniuk stick side.
The Ice Knights responded a little over a minute later on sophomore forward Zachary Vit’s first of two goals to tie the game at one. Geneseo’s first goal was set up by a turnover by junior forward Chris Brown in the Lakers’ defensive zone. Brown attempted to move the puck out of the zone, but his pass through the middle of the ice was intercepted by Geneseo forward Corbin Rosmarin. Rosmarin fed a pass to Vit in the slot, who went five hole on Oswego State goalie Andrew Hare.
“Both of their goals was a result of us turning the puck over at the offensive line,” Oswego State head coach Ed Gosek said. “We have to clean that up and do a better job as we move forward.”
Oswego State senior forward and captain Andrew Mather netted the Lakers’ next two goals, including the eventual game-winning goal at 1:01 of the second period. Mather’s first goal of the game came while playing 4-on-4 hockey after penalties by senior forward Ian Boots and Geneseo forward David Arduin for hitting after the whistle. At 16:13 of the first period, Mather capitalized on a rebound attempt off a shot from freshman defenseman Bobby Gertsakis from the left faceoff circle. Rubeniuk made the save on Gertsakis but was out of position on Mather’s rebound attempt, leaving a wide-open net for Mather to shoot at.
Mather’s second goal of the game put the Lakers up 3-1 early in the second period. Moments earlier, Mather had just come out of the penalty box after serving a two-minute penalty for interference. Boots passed the puck up the left side of the ice to Mather at the penalty area, who skated in on net and put the puck past Rubeniuk stick side for the two goal lead.
The Ice Knights cut the lead to one on Vit’s second goal of the game on a wrist shot from the slot that was placed perfectly over the glove side of Hare top shelf. Vit, last year’s SUNYAC Rookie of the Year, leads the Ice Knights with four goals this season.
Junior forward Matt Singleton’s goal at 12:41 of the third period pushed the Laker lead back to two and sealed the victory for the Lakers. The Ice Knights took two penalties over the game’s final 5:34 to eliminate any chance of a comeback.
“I thought we played hard, clearly harder than we did against Utica,” Gosek said. “All in all I thought all four lines contributed. The defense was pretty solid. Hare did a good job in net.”
Hare finished the game with 20 saves on 22 shots faced to earn his fourth win in net this season for the Lakers. Rubeniuk finished with 46 saves on 50 shots faced in a losing effort for the Ice Knights.
On Saturday against the Golden Eagles, the Lakers wasted little time in taking control of the game. Whitelaw and Singleton each tallied a goal in the game’s first 1:34 to take the early two-goal lead.
“We came out and played well and got the “W,” but I don’t think it was our best effort,” Whitelaw said. “We haven’t put together 60 full minutes this year yet. It was good enough to win tonight and everybody contributed.”
The Golden Eagles would settle down after that, keeping the Lakers off the board the rest of the period thanks in part to Oswego State taking five consecutive penalties during the frame. Even Gosek got in on the penalty action, taking an unsportsmanlike penalty after arguing with the officials after a boarding penalty by junior forward Paul Rodrigues 31 seconds earlier.
The Lakers found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-on-3 advantage, but were able to kill off both penalties. The Golden Eagles finished the game 0-for-7 on the power play.
“I disagreed with the way [the refs] were calling it,” Gosek said. “I thought because we were stronger in those situations that they were good checks.”
Gosek wasn’t the only member of the Lakers who had words with the officials during the game, as junior defenseman Jesse McConney was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty following a two-minute interference penalty.
Junior forward Chris Ayotte scored the lone goal of the second period to give the Lakers a three-goal lead heading into the third period.
Oswego State seized control of the game with four third-period goals to remain unbeaten in SUNYAC play this season. The Lakers received power-play goals from junior forward Luke Moodie and Rodrigues, as well as even-strength goals from Whitelaw and sophomore forward Kyle Badham.
“Brockport may be one of the lower teams in the standings, but you can’t take anyone for granted in the SUNYAC because anybody can beat anybody on any given night,” Whitelaw said.
Trailing 7-0, Brockport forward Bobby Conner scored the team’s lone goal of the game with 1:43 remaining in the third period, denying junior goaltender Dan Jones the shutout.
“Brockport played very hard,” Gosek said. “They competed hard right until they got the goal at the end. It’s very easy because of the perception that they’re picked to finish last that you relax and fall into bad habits. I was very pleased.”
Jones finished the game with 27 saves in his first appearance this season in net for the Lakers. Brockport goaltender Joe Reagan finished with 43 saves in his first appearance with the Golden Eagles this season.
With the weekend victories, the Lakers move to 5-1-0 overall and 3-0-0 in SUNYAC play. Oswego State has also earned the No. 1 ranking in the latest USCHO.com Men’s Ice Hockey Poll, sitting points ahead of No. 2 Norwich University.
The Lakers continue conference play on Saturday, Nov. 12, when they host Morrisville State College at the Campus Center Ice Arena.