Of all the ways they could have ended the 2011 calendar year, the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team never imagined it would be this bad. The second-ranked Lakers were shut out by 11th-ranked Neumann University, 3-0, in the Pathfinder Bank/Oswego Hockey Classic Final on Saturday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena.
The Lakers (10-2-2 overall, 6-0-2 SUNYAC) committed six major penalties, all in the third period, and were shut out in front of their home fans for the first time since Jan. 18, 2002 against Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT has since moved up to the Division I ranks. The last time Oswego State was held scoreless in a game, the senior class at the university were enrolled in sixth grade.
The win by the Knights (9-3-0 overall, 2-3-0 ECAC West) denied the Lakers their fourth Pathfinder Classic title in its sixth year and the Lakers have now gone two straight years without claiming their own tournament championship. The game served as just the second meeting between the two teams and the first won by Neumann.
After a scoreless first period, Neumann struck twice in the second period. Neumann’s Steve Gervais netted the game’s first goal and the only goal scored at even strength at 8:20 of the second period. Gervais received a pass from Jordan Zalba at the blue line and wristed a shot that beat Oswego State goaltender Andrew Hare. Gervais’ goal was all the Knights would need to defeat the Lakers.
Neumann’s Cory Park gave the Knights a two-goal lead on the power play at 16:47 of the second period after a flurry of shots on the Laker goaltender. Following a holding penalty to senior forward Ian Boots, both D’Lane Sather and Aaron Keaney registered shots on net before Park cleaned up the loose puck and put it into the back of the net behind Hare.
Zalba tallied the Knights’ third goal of the game with the two player advantage at 11:20 of the third period to all but seal the victory and the tournament title for Neumann. Freshman defenseman Bobby Gertsakis and senior forward and captain Andrew Mather each took 10-minute game misconduct penalties within one minute of one another to give the Knights a 5-on-3 opportunity, which Zalba capitalized on.
The final period of 2011 is one that the Lakers will not want to remember heading into 2012, as the team took nine penalties for 56 penalty minutes after taking just three penalties for six minutes in the first two periods combined. Of the 12 penalties Oswego State took against Neumann, six were major penalties. Gertsakis received a five-minute checking from behind penalty and a 10-minute game misconduct, Mather received a 10-minute misconduct for breaking his stick over the side boards and a 10-minute game misconduct, junior forward Chris Brown was issued a five-minute charging penalty and junior forward Paul Rodrigues got a 10-minute unsportsmanlike penalty in the final minute of the game.
Neumann goaltender Ross MacKinnon was flawless in net, finishing with 32 saves to earn the shutout. Hare finished with 25 saves on 28 shots faced in just his second loss of the season.
Oswego State returns to action on Friday, Jan. 13, against Curry College at 7 p.m. at the Campus Center Ice Arena.