Lakers’ schedule released

Jessica Bagdovitz | The Oswegonian

The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team’s season may have just ended a little over a month ago, but the road to a second national championship has already begun with the unveiling of the 2012-13 schedule.

The Lakers drop the puck on their season with an exhibition game against the Under-18 U.S. National Team on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Campus Center Ice Arena and hope that their season will conclude in the NCAA Frozen Four Championship on Saturday, March 16, at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Oswego State’s schedule is home-heavy during the first half of the season with seven games taking place at the Campus Center Ice Arena during the fall semester (eight counting the exhibition game). The Lakers have just three regular season home games during the spring semester, which will be played back-to-back-to-back over the course of two weekends. Senior Night comes early for the Lakers, as their final home game will take place on Friday, Feb. 1, against Morrisville State College. There are four home games during the winter break.

For the first time since the 2001-02 season, the Lakers will play their regular season opener against a conference opponent. Unlike in previous years where the Lakers and Elmira College would kick off the season with a home-and-home weekend series, Oswego State begins the 2012-13 campaign at home against SUNY Cortland on Friday, Oct. 26. The Lakers welcome Elmira to the Campus Center the following night to conclude the opening weekend. Oswego State won all three meetings against the Soaring Eagles last year.

Oswego State takes to the road for the next three games against The College at Brockport, SUNY Geneseo and Morrisville State College before returning home for the next five games. The Lakers host Buffalo State, a team they are 30-0-4 all-time against, on Friday, Nov. 16, and wrap up the weekend against SUNY Fredonia on Saturday, Nov. 17.

After a week off for Thanksgiving Break, the Lakers continue their homestand with “White Out” weekend. Unlike last year’s schedule that had the Lakers playing SUNY Plattsburgh before SUNY Potsdam, this year the Lakers will play Potsdam before Plattsburgh. The annual “White Out” game begins the December slate of games, as the Lakers host the Cardinals on Saturday, Dec. 1, to close out the first half of SUNYAC play.

The Lakers close out the first half of the regular season with two non-conference games against Utica College and Hobart College. Oswego State plays host to the Pioneers on Friday, Dec. 7, before traveling to Hobart to play the Statesmen on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The 2012 portion of the schedule comes to a close with the annual Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic, but takes place on odd days of the week. The opening round games occur on Sunday, Dec. 30, and the championship/consolation games will be played on Monday, Dec. 31. This year’s tournament guests are Lawrence of the MCHA, Castleton College of the ECAC East and Plymouth State of the MASCAC. Plymouth State, who earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, is Oswego State’s first round game. Lawrence and Castleton will play the first game of the tournament. The Lakers have never played any of the three participants in the tournament in their program’s history.

The Lakers will have limited rest following the conclusion of the tournament, as they travel to play Elmira on Friday, Jan. 4, to complete their two-game series. Oswego State plays at Utica the following night. History will be made on Saturday, Jan. 12, when the Lakers play Division III newcomer Nazareth College, coached by former Oswego State men’s ice hockey head coach George Roll.

Oswego State returns to SUNYAC play for a brief moment on Friday, Jan. 18, at Cortland before returning home to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule against Hamilton on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Oswego State students return to school to witness their first home game of the spring semester against Brockport on Friday, Jan. 25, followed by Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 26. The following Saturday against Morrisville is the team’s Senior Night, where they will honor its 14 seniors.

The Lakers close out the regular season with a four-game road trip that begins with games at Buffalo State and Fredonia and concludes with games at Potsdam and Plattsburgh.

The SUNYAC playoffs begin on Wednesday, Feb. 20, with the SUNYAC Play-In games, which are followed by the SUNYAC Semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 23. The SUNYAC Final will be held on Saturday, March 2. The NCAA Tournament begins the following Wednesday with the play-in round. The NCAA Quarterfinal Round will be held on Saturday, March 9. The winners of the quarterfinal games will advance to the NCAA Frozen Four in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday, March 15. The season concludes with the NCAA Championship Game on Saturday, March 16.