Lakers drop final game of year to Cortland

Jessica Bagdovitz | The Oswegonian

In their final regular season game of the year, the Oswego State Lakers lost to the Cortland Red Dragons by a final score of 10-3. The Lakers end their season on a disappointing skid after starting with an encouraging 7-0 record.

The Lakers gave up the first goal of the game at 8:30 in the first quarter when Doug Meehan found Brian Winterfeldt cutting toward the net. Oswego answered the goal when junior Casey Balzer scored an unassisted goal with 3:08 left in the first period. Cortland scored again less than a minute later when Taylor Mendoza found the back of the net off an assist by Greg Wright.

Oswego State finished off the first period with a manageable deficit of 2-1, but that wouldn’t last very long. Greg Wright scored an unassisted goal about a minute into the second period. The Lakers did not have many opportunities on offense, as they seemed to always be playing defensively, and turned the ball over almost immediately on most of their offensive possessions. Cortland proceeded to score two more unanswered goals to finish off the first half, leading the Lakers by a score of 5-1.

The Lakers offense did not show up for the second half, and Cortland continued its streak of unanswered goals. Matt Rakoczy scored four minutes and 31 seconds into the period. Greg Wright followed up with his second goal of the game less than three minutes later. Joe Slavik finished off the period with a goal that gave Cortland an 8-1 lead.

The Lakers were held scoreless for two straight periods during Cortlands stretch of seven unanswered goals. They had trouble finding open looks and were constantly beaten by double teams. The team played well on defense, and senior goalie Ian O’Brien made several impressive stops, but they could not contain Cortland during that stretch.

Matt Palmer scored for the Lakers 34 seconds into the fourth period due to a penalty that carried over from the third period leaving Cortland a man down. Cortland’s Matt Hoey scored a goal two minutes later to give Cortland a seven goal advantage, and Cody Consul added his second goal of the game to put the score at 10-2.

With the game all but over, Oswego continued to play hard. Blazer scored his second goal of the game with 7:47 left in the fourth. Neither team scored from that point onward, but the Lakers put up a valiant effort during the closing minutes of the game.

O’Brien finished the day with 16 saves, nine of which came in the first period. Cortland goalie Mike Kaminski had nine saves and allowed three goals in his 52 minutes of action.

The Lakers finish their season on a 1-7 skid after starting the season with an impressive seven game winning streak. Despite the late season troubles, the Lakers finished with an above .500 record for the first time since 2000, when they went 9-7. During the final stretch, the Lakers offense wasn’t able to get going, tallying less than 10 goals in seven of their final eight games.

The Lakers honored five seniors before the start of the game: Tom Gropp, Britt Leone, Eric Miccio, Brad Teal and Ian O’Brien. Next season, the Lakers will be bringing back eight of their nine starters, and five of their six top point scorers.

Freshman Cody Hoose led the team with 49 points, which puts him on pace to become a member of the exclusive 100-point club. If Hoose eclipses the mark next season season, he would become one of only three players in program history to score 100 points in just two seasons.

The Lakers had three other players score 25 points or more this season. Sophomore Chris Porten was second on the team in goals and points, finishing with 29 points on the season. Junior Casey Balzer and freshman Connor Khammar ended the season with 27 points and 26 points respectively.

Jessica Bagdovitz | The Oswegonian