The Oswego State men’s ice hockey season kicked off this evening with the Laker Showcase. The game was an intrasquad scrimmage pitting members of this year’s team against each other in a two-period game followed by several skill challenges.
The game featured two teams with styles of play, which differed quite a bit. The Green Team, led by senior assistant captain Kyle Badham, was very aggressive and physical, while the White Team, led by senior captain David Titanic, was extremely technical. When all was said and done the Green Team took the contest, 4-1.
The White Team won the opening faceoff, but quickly lost possession to the green squad. Such capitalization on white’s inability to take advantage of opportunities would come to epitomize the first 20 minutes of play.
In the opening period, Team White outshot their counterparts 12 to six as players the likes Mike Wills, Chris Raguseo and Matt Galati peppered freshman Matt Zawadzki. However, the South Carolina native kept his team in the game saving each and every shot.
Zawadzki’s play was rewarded early on when two veterans delivered the game’s first goal at 6:05 in the period on the power play. Junior forward Peter Rodrigues brought the puck to the right circle where he sent a backhand in front to fellow junior Nick Rivait for the score.
The goal came on an advantage while Matt Galati was in the bin for goalie interference, the White Team’s second of three penalties in the period.
After the goal, Titanic’s men got back to controlling time on attack and attacking Zawadzki but after another six minutes elapsed the game began to play a familiar song.
After a time frame in front of the Green net a penalty on freshman Evan Schultz for hooking set up another power play opportunity for the team headed Badham.
Fifty seconds into the Green Team’s final power play of the period they struck for their second and final goal of the period as a younger combination provided the offense.
Freshman Alex Botten sent a slap shot sophomore net minder Justin Gilbert’s way and after a few moments of pestering Shawn Hulshof was able to poke the puck through to give his team a 2-0 lead.
The White Team would continue to pressure Zawadzki for the final seven minutes but the physical play of the defensive pairings and some impressive saves on his part held the scoreboard at 2-0 after one period.
Zawadzki felt good about the period he played and sees it as a starting point for his first season in Oswego.
“It gives you confidence playing and having a good period,” Zawadzki said. “It let’s the guys have confidence in you and we can build off that. It builds momentum going into next weekend.”
The White Team started their possession advantage at the faceoff circle where they won the period 16-6.
In the closing 20 minutes of the game, the Green Team came out quick as sophomore Brandon Adams sent a shot into Gilbert’s gut within the first 20 seconds.
The white squad would turn things right around, however, testing freshman goalie Simon Jasmin right within his first minute of collegiate action.
Wills sent a slap shot Jasmin’s way where he was able to sprawl and keep it out of the net until his defense was able to clear it away.
The White Team saw their shot total rise as the opening minutes of the second period ticked away but the physical play of Green Team members, such as Badham, kept their opponents off the score sheet.
However, the zero would come off the board eventually at the 7:53 mark in the period.
After a penalty on sophomore Mackenzie Scott for interference the White Team wasted no time, cutting their deficit in half just five seconds into the power play.
Off the faceoff following the penalty on Scott, Wills found Raguseo who rifled a shot off Jasmin’s left leg pad and onto Galati’s stick. Galati redirected the puck near side and past his fellow freshman in the net, making the score 2-1.
The play was the first and only successful offensive chance for Team White as Wills and Raguseo, who did not even start the evening as a defensive pairing, showed some early signs of chemistry to set up the play.
The score seemed to give the White Team a bit of extra momentum, as they would create three decent chances in the following five minutes. But the best play of the sequence would lead to them seeing their deficit once again expanded to two goals.
At about eight minutes into the second period, Raguseo laid a huge hit on fellow freshman defensemen J.J. Hart behind the White Team net, the only time all night Hart would be on the receiving end of such a hit. However, Hart got right back on his feet and found himself in the right place to bury a pass from freshman Josh Timpano for the Green Team’s third goal of the night, also assisted by Scott.
From that time on the Green Team began to put the game away. Timpano came right back moments later, firing a shot to the left pipe, which deflected off Rodrigues’s glove and just trickled wide.
Rodrigues had a chance of his own with a few minutes to play, as the power forward showed a soft touch with an impressive double move. Gilbert kept his teammate from getting off a clean shot, but the Green Team presence continued to be prevalent in the offensive zone.
Just 15 seconds after the skills of Rodrigues were on display; the White Team took its fourth and final penalty of the night. Freshman Evan Schultz took two minutes for tripping and for the third time in their four opportunities on the evening Green struck gold.
In the opening seconds of the man advantage, the Green Team kept up their intensity and attacked Gilbert early, this time with a bit more physical force.
Rodrigues sent a shot the sophomore goalie’s direction, which he punched away, but then freshman Eric Witzel gave Gilbert a little more than he could handle.
The young forward ended up on top of Gilbert with so much force that the goalie’s helmet came off. The situation was full of intensity and a bit scary for a moment for the fans.
Once things settled down and play went on the fourth goal came with 20 seconds to go on the power play.
Badham sent a shot at Gilbert, which he blocked away, but the Lakers assistant captain followed his shot and sent the second chance opportunity around the net minder and in. The goal brought the score to its resting place of 4-1 with just under two minutes to play.
Coach Gosek wasn’t all that surprised with how the goal was scored because it is the style he expects from Badham.
“Well that’s his game,” Gosek said. “The shift before he tries to cut the middle and turns the puck over. Kyle Badham’s game is being a power forward, driving to the net, out muscling, out hustling the D, getting pucks into that area and following.”
The evening ended on a lighter note with some skills challenges among the players, followed by a final activity for the fans. The entire Oswego State team came up to the upper level of the arena for a special autograph session with the fans that stuck around.
Oswego State’s captain said he is ready to start lining up against some players wearing colors besides green, gold and white.
“I’m excited,” Titanic said. “We’ve been competing against ourselves for so long it’s going to be nice to get someone else out there. Hopefully we’ll have a good first weekend and come out with a win.”
The Lakers have two home SUNYAC matchups against SUNY Fredonia on Friday and Buffalo State on Saturday. Puck drop for both games with be at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ice Arena.