Lakers fall in overtime on opening night of season

(David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
(David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

The Oswego State men’s hockey team’s first game of the 2013-2014 season ended in a fashion unfamiliar to the Campus Center crowd, a 3-2 loss at the hands of SUNY Fredonia in overtime.

Lakers head coach Ed Gosek said his team had their chances to put the game away early, but let the visitors hang around. The missed chances were a crucial factor in the loss, but Gosek thought his team played well overall.

“The guys worked hard, they made some nice plays, we had some breakdowns defensively, but for the most part I thought our compete level was good,” Gosek said.

The Blue Devils secured the victory with 27.9 seconds remaining in the overtime period, as freshman forward Hunter Long snuck a shot inside the right post. Senior forward Matt Owczarczak, who took the puck out of traffic behind the net, assisted the winner.

The goal was an example of the Lakers’ struggles to communicate and fill their spaces in front of sophomore goalie Justin Gilbert.

Even with the game ending as it did, Gilbert still felt the in-game chatter by Oswego State’s defensive block was solid overall.

“We definitely emphasized before the game a lot of communication and I think that definitely paid off when we were relaying the puck to each other in our own end,” Gilbert said.

Fredonia sent the game into an extra five minute period on the stick of sophomore Chad Bennett who poked in a rebound off a Ryan Wilkinson shot with 30 seconds left on a power play early in the final frame. Bennett’s goal was the only one of its kind all night between the teams, who went a combined 1-for-8 on the man advantage.

After a scoreless first 20 minutes of play, the squads combined for three goals in the middle section of play.

Oswego State took the first lead of the game at 4:36 in the second. Junior defensemen Bobby Gertsakis fed the puck up to freshman Shawn Hulshof who beat Fredonia’s freshman goaltender, Christopher Eiserman, from point blank range, from the left faceoff circle.

It would not be long, however, before the Blue Devils responded with a goal of their own at 7:15 in the period.

Lakers senior Kyle Badham lost a puck in front of the Fredonia net, which was picked up by Owczarczak. The senior started a three-on-one opportunity by finding Long who put the puck on sophomore defensemen Mitch Kaufmann’s stick. Kaufmann took a shot from the high slot, which beat Gilbert over his right shoulder.

After an extended period of solid play, Oswego State retook the lead on the back of some late period heroics by sophomore transfer Brandon Adams.

With under a minute left in the second, junior Peter Rodrigues sent a puck into the Lakers offensive zone to his linemate Adams. The new comer from Holy Cross took the puck to the left pipe and, upon Eiserman biting, wrapped to the far side placing the saucer into an open net.

The Illinois native had seven shots in the game, which he says is just his style, and felt good about the play of his line as a whole.

“I really like to try to shoot the puck as much as possible,” Adams said. “As far as the goal goes, all credit to my linemate. He made a really nice play to get me that puck and I was lucky enough that the goalie bit and left the net for me to put it in. I thought my line in general played really well.”

Adams’ goal was just one of two shots to go in for the hosts this evening. The Fredonia freshman net-minder saved the other 38 shots sent his way.

Coach Gosek sees great things from his squad this season, but understands there is a starting point, which can not be focused on for too long.

“It was the first game of the year with a young team,” Gosek said. “Obviously expectations are high and they should be high. But, the reality is we’re going to have games like this. We have to learn from them, get better and not dwell on it.”

The Lakers fall to 0-1 on the season, but are right back on the Campus Center ice tomorrow night against the Buffalo State Bengals who were 5-4 at SUNY Cortland tonight. Puck drop is again at 7 p.m.