The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team was back in action tonight after nearly a month off since its White Out contest against SUNY Plattsburgh and was victorious over the Curry College Colonels in the first round of the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic, 3-0.
Both teams got off to slow starts in the early going as they knocked off the rust from an extended period of time off since the end of the fall semester. Coming into the game Oswego State (6-2-1, 4-2-1) was a huge favorites due to its offensive prowess, ranked seventh in the nation in scoring (4.25 goals per game) as opposed to Curry’s (2-6-1, 1-4-0) 69th ranking (1.62). This statistics would prove important as the Lakers shook out the cobwebs first and would not look back.
After nearly 18 minutes of scoreless play it was junior transfer Mike Montagna who broke the tie at the 17:50 mark with what would be the eventual game-winner. The Fulton native beat the Colonels junior netminder Derek Mohney at the heart of the slot on the one timer off a feed from freshman Chris Raguseo. Freshman Kenny Neil was awarded the secondary assist on the play.
Oswego State grabbed its second goal of the game just over a minute and a half later as another transfer, sophomore Brandon Adams, found the back of the net at 19:25 mark of the period.
The Lakers took advantage of a Curry penalty on Eilery O’Hara who was sent to the penalty box at 18:58 for boarding. Adams put a rebound off a Bobby Gertsakis shot at the point past Mohney for his fifth goal of the season, tying him for second on the team, and his first on the power play. The assist was the junior assistant captain’s sixth in the last five games.
Oswego State dominated possession througout the game’s second stanza, but its time on attack did not turn into many shots on net. Both teams were held scoreless in the period. The Lakers only managed 10 second period shots after sending 17 Mohney’s way in the first 20 minutes of play. The Amherst native upped his play in the middle frame and was able to handle the pucks he did face well in order to keep Curry within striking distance heading to the third.
Mohney continued his solid play into the third but the Colonels’ inability to send shots the Oswego State goaltender’s, freshman Matt Zawadzki, way would be the difference in the game’s final period. Curry only managed two shots in the closing 20 minutes, which combined with its six second period shots totaled just one more shot than it had the entire first period. Zawadzki stopped all 15 shots by the team from just under 13 miles outside of Boston as he registered his second career shutout as a Laker.
The lack of offense coming for the visitors allowed the Lakers to keep up their pressure on offense from the second into the third period and freshman Stephen Johnson would deliver the knockout punch at the 7:41 mark bringing the game to its final scoreline.
The defenseman from Mississauga, Ontario sent a blistering slap shot from just inside the left face off circle over the Colonels goalie’s left shoulder for Oswego State’s third goal of the game and his second of the season. The assists on the goal went to freshmen Chris Waterstreet and Alex Botten; however, the key player on the goal was Neil.
The 5-foot eight freshman, tied for shortest player on the team, was jumping on the ice for his shift as the Lakers started to cycle the puck around the zone. As the puck headed Johnson’s way, Neil headed straight for the front of the net in case a redirect was needed. Upon seeing a deflection would not be necessary, he jumped into Mohney’s line of vision, distracting the goalie and slowing his reaction to the shot heading on net.
Oswego State put Curry on the man advantage for the second time in the period, third in the game, a few minutes later at 11:21 as sophomore Denton King was called for interference. The Colonels lived up to their ranking as the worst team in Division III on the power play this season, now 2-for-48, after failing to convert once again.
With their victory tonight, the Lakers advance to the tournament’s championship game as they move one step closer to defending the title. They will take on the Utica College Pioneers, the ninth ranked team in the nation, who defeated the University of Wisconsin-Stout Blue Devils in the day’s first game, 4-1.
The consolation game will be up first tomorrow as the Blue Devils and Colonels face off at 4 p.m. with the championship game following at 7 p.m.