Club hockey has big year

The Oswego State men’s club ice hockey team celebrates a win over Binghamton University on Oct. 21. (Photo provided by Dwayne  Niewiemski)
The Oswego State men’s club ice hockey team celebrates a win over Binghamton University on Oct. 21. (Photo provided by Dwayne Niewiemski)

Despite a semifinal loss in the NECHL playoffs, the Oswego State men’s club ice hockey team recently wrapped up a successful 2012-2013 season.

The Lakers earned a playoff birth by finishing fourth in the NECHL standings with an 11-12-2 record. In their first round playoff game, Oswego State defeated Ithaca College, 7-6, then dropped a 4-1 contest to the nationally-ranked Buffalo Bulls.

The regular season started well for the Lakers, who won six of their first seven games.

“I think we started off real strong this year, a lot stronger then I expected us to start,” Oswego State head coach Jay Peacock said.

The Lakers would lose ground in the standings toward the end of the fall semester when the team went on a long stretch of games away from the Campus Center Ice Arena. In the last 10 games of the fall semester, eight were on the road for the Lakers.

“We reverted to some old habits that hurt us halfway through the season,” captain Chris Timmons said.

In that stretch, the team compiled a 3-5-2 record.

“We love playing at home,” Peacock said. “But if you want to win, you’ve got to be able to do it on the road.”

At the start of the spring semester, the Lakers continued to struggle, dropping games to another nationally-ranked team in Niagara and Buffalo, 4-1 and 6-1 respectively.

Following the loss to Buffalo, the Bulls would travel to Oswego the next weekend to face off with the Lakers again. The Bulls took the win again, 2-1, but with the help of their senior goaltender Aaron Frohm, the Lakers were able to gain some momentum to finish out the season. Oswego State was heavily outshot in the contest, but Frohm stood on his head and made 46 saves on 47 shots, forcing UB to a shootout.

After the UB game, Oswego State was able to sneak into the playoffs with late season victories over Syracuse and RIT.

“We pulled out some wins and got some points against some very good teams and that means a lot in the short season that we have,” Frohm said.

For their efforts, two Lakers received league recognition. Jay Peacock was named Coach of the Year for the NECHL and for the first time in the team’s history, the NECHL Player of the Year came from Oswego State, as it was awarded to Frohm for his performance this season.

“He was great this season,” Peacock said of his goaltender.

Frohm complied an 11-10 record for the Lakers with a 3.51 goals against average, a 0.91 save percent and four shutouts.

“This was my last year of competitive hockey and being named Player of the Year for the league is a great accomplishment to end a career on,” Frohm said. “It means a lot to me that other people in the league were noticing what I accomplished on the ice.”

Along with Frohm, the Lakers will lose seven other players to graduation, including Greg Molfese, Brian Tosti, Mike Renick, James Hollowell, Matt Potrzeba, Ryan Grant and Justin Smith.

Smith finished the season with a team-leading 29 points in 27 games, which

included 15 goals and 14 assists. Along with Smith, linemates Chris Timmons and D.J. Mazzoni finished second and third in points on the team, respectively.

“(Smith) really turned it up this season and scored when we needed to,” Timmons said. “He lead our team in points and was a hell of a linemate.”

Not only because of the loss of production he brings on the ice but even more so because of his contributions off of it, the Lakers suffer a big loss in Mike Renick as well. In the last two seasons, Renick served as club president for the team.

“It’s tough to replace a leading goal-scorer, but it’s really going to be tough to replace that leadership (Renick) brought off the ice,” Peacock said.

Even with big losses, the Lakers are confident next season can be an even more successful one.

“I feel we can make a run for the league championship and possibly a visit to nationals,” Timmons said.