Men’s lacrosse drops one-goal game

Marie A. Halpin | The OswegonianThe Oswego State men’s lacrosse team nearly forced overtime, but freshman attacker Cody Hoose’s point blank shot was saved with less than five seconds left in regulation in a 6-5 loss to St. John Fisher on Wednesday afternoon at Laker Field.

The loss dropped the Lakers to 8-4, and suffering their fourth loss in their past five games.

The game started off quickly in favor of the Lakers when Chris Porten and senior midfielder Britt Leone scored goals in short succession to go up 2-0. They held the lead for most of the first period until the Cardinals came back and scored two goals of their own from Mike Byrnes and Connor Henderson to tie the game at two.

The Cardinals scored another goal to start the second period, and then went into a stalemate with the Lakers for the rest of the period. The Lakers went the entire second period, and many minutes into the third period, without scoring a goal, while St. John Fisher capitalized on its opportunity to build a lead.

The Cardinals scored five unanswered goals in the stretch, and the game looked out of reach for a Lakers team that was searching for offense.

“We really couldn’t find open looks on offense, and had trouble forcing turnovers on defense,” head coach Ryan Martin said. “The whole game we played really defensive and just couldn’t get anything going the other way.”

St John Fisher almost added another goal when Oswego State senior goalie Ian O’Brien lost the ball underneath him on a shot that nearly rolled into the net, but he saved it at the last minute. The Lakers finally broke out of their slump late in the third period on a goal by Hoose that was assisted by Porten. Leone added a second goal early in the fourth period to put the Lakers within one.

The Cardinals responded with a goal of their own to put themselves back up two in the middle of the fourth quarter, and the Lakers came back down the field and scored on an unassisted goal by freshman midfielder Matt Palmer with less than three minutes left to go in the game, setting up the crucial last-second play that crushed the Lakers’ hopes of going to overtime.

The Lakers gained possession of the ball with 1:38 left in the game after St. John Fisher attempted to run out the clock but lost the ball. Hoose got the ball and sailed a shot way over the net, prompting Martin to call a time out with 46.7 seconds left to go. The play was set up well, but broke down after the initial shot and it almost went in the Lakers favor.

Leone got the ball and put a nice shot on goal that was stopped, but the Lakers were able to retain possession. Junior attacker Casey Balzer came out with the ball and passed it to a driving Hoose, who had a great look from point-blank, but it was blocked by Cardinals goalie Jamie Campagna.

“I had a good look at the net, but sometimes that’s just how it goes,” Hoose said. “Casey made a great pass to set me up but Campagna made an even better save.”

“It was a good look and Campagna made an amazing save,” Martin said. “It was really disappointing that we couldn’t bring the game to overtime after we made such a big comeback, but we can’t say we didn’t go out trying.”

O’Brien bounced back great after getting beat up by SUNY Geneseo last week, allowing only six goals and finishing with 15 saves, Leone added his 14th and 15th goals of the season, and Porten put up his 18th goal of the year.

Goalie play was the difference in the outcome, as Campagna allowed only five goals with 17 saves to edge out O’Brien’s impressive game and earning the victory for the Cardinals. St. John Fisher also dominated on face-offs, winning 12 of the 15 face-offs during the game.

The Lakers had lost four of their past five games after scorching out of the gate on a seven-game win streak. During the five-game stretch, the Lakers have only scored more than six goals once, during their one win in the five games, and have allowed more than 12 goals three times. They are coming off a game when they lost by 14 goals to Geneseo, where they lost by a final score of 20-6.

The Lakers have a chance for a bounce back game against 3-9 SUNY Oneonta, who is sitting at the bottom of the SUNYAC conference. They play the Red Dragons at Oneonta on Saturday, April 21, at 2:30 p.m.