Following a 10-goal outburst the night before, the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team got all they could handle from Buffalo State, but used the strength of its power play unit to defeat the Bengals, 4-1, on Saturday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena.
Junior forward and assistant captain Jon Whitelaw netted two power-play goals and an empty-net goal for a natural hat trick, as the Lakers tallied four unanswered goals after falling behind early in the second period against the Bengals, who came into the game in third place in the SUNYAC standings.
After putting up five goals in the opening period of Friday night’s game against SUNY Fredonia, the Lakers were kept off the scoreboard in the first period against Buffalo State. Buffalo State stuck with Oswego State in terms of shots on goal in the first period, as both teams finished with 10. The Lakers had a few opportunities to net the game’s first goal in the opening 20 minutes, but Buffalo State goaltender Kevin Carr made some key stops on Laker forwards. Buffalo State’s Zach Hale even made a save for the Bengals, stopping a shot from the right side on an empty net after Carr dove to save a previous shot. No penalties were called in the first period.
Buffalo State got on the board first in the second period, when Justin Knee scored off a rebound in front of the net at 6:46. Oswego State junior goaltender Andrew Hare came out of his net to play the puck, but had his pass intercepted by Eric Bajc. Bajc wristed a shot on net from the right faceoff circle, and Hare left a rebound attempt in front of the net after he couldn’t handle to the rebound. Knee crashed the net and beat Hare for the goal.
The Lakers battled back to tie the game and then take the lead in a span of 30 seconds. Junior forward Tyler Leimbrock recorded Oswego State’s first goal of the contest at 13:08 of the second period after a beautiful assist from junior forward Chris Muise. Skating up the left side of the ice, Muise placed a perfect pass to a streaking Leimbrock into the slot. Leimbrock pushed the puck past Carr before being cross-checked into the net by Bajc. Bajc received a two-minute cross-checking penalty, which led to Oswego State’s second goal at 13:38. Junior forward Jon Whitelaw tallied the power-play goal with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Carr glove side top shelf for the Lakers’ first lead of the game.
Whitelaw gave the Lakers some breathing room with a power-play goal at 8:35 of the third period. At the latter part of a boarding penalty by Buffalo State’s Billy Strakosch, Whitelaw received a pass in the slot from junior forward Chris Ayotte. Whitelaw had gotten behind two Buffalo State defenders and had a clear path to the net, where he wristed a shot past the glove side of Carr.
The Bengals nearly cut the deficit in half after they pulled Carr for an extra skater while already on the power play. Trevor McKinney, however, hit the crossbar with a slap shot from the point and the Bengals were unable to capitalize with the two extra skaters.
Whitelaw finished the natural hat trick with an empty-net goal with 19 seconds remaining.
Hare finished with 28 saves on 29 shots faced to earn the win in net for the Lakers, while Carr finished with 37 saves on 40 shots faced.
The Lakers finished 2-for-6 on the power play and the Bengals were unable to score with the man advantage in each of their three opportunities.
The Lakers return to action on Friday, Feb. 17, for the annual “White Out” game against archrival SUNY Plattsburgh at the Campus Center Ice Arena at 7 p.m.