Once the dust settled on Day One of the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic the two teams predicted to reach the championship had done so.
After a wacky first period in which the Wisconsin-Stout Blue Devils scored both their two goals, including one off Utica senior defenseman Mike Slowikowski’s foot, the Pioneers settled down the game and closed out the victory with the final three goals, grabbing the win 4-2.
In the night cap, the host Oswego State Lakers took most of the first period to get in rhythm after not playing for several weeks, but once in sync they cruised to a solid 3-0 shutout of the Curry Colonels. The clean sheet was freshman goalie Matt Zawadzki’s second of the season.
Here is a breakdown of today’s consolation and championship games:
Curry College (2-6-1, 1-4-0) v. University of Wisconsin-Stout (3-8, 1-1-0): The Colonels showed throughout their game versus Oswego State yesterday that numbers never lie. The squad from Massachusetts, ranked 71st out of 72 teams in Division III when it comes to scoring at 1.44 goals per game, was shutout for the fourth time this season, three of the scoreless contests coming in its last six. However, the statistics which may sink them the most is their inability to capitalize when on the man advantage. No team is worse in Division III at scoring on the power play than the Colonels who have scored twice in 48 chances this season. Such a shortcomings may be detrimental versus a Blue Devils side which, after killing off all five of their penalties yesterday, is now tenth in the country down a man still only allowing six goals with a man in the box out of 59 chances.
Wisconsin-Stout should be pleased to see Curry on the other side of the ice this afternoon offensively after facing the twelfth ranked defense in the nation yesterday in the Pioneers. There should be quite a bit more open ice to work with. If such if the case, the Blue Devils will be able to get more Grade A chances at the Colonels net as opposed to yesterday when most of their shots came closer to the blue line.
Puck drops at 4 p.m.
#9 Utica College (9-2-1, 5-1-1) v. #13 Oswego State (6-2-1, 4-2-1): These two ranked teams have lined up against each other 17 times in the past 10 season and, after this week is over, that number will rise to 19 times in 11 seasons as they face off once again next Saturday night in Utica. The Lakers took 10 of the first 13, but since the start of the 2011-2012 season the Pioneers have had Oswego State’s number, winning three of the last four times they have met. In fact, one of those three wins was the last time these two met at the Campus Center Ice Arena last season on Dec. 7, 2012 when Utica defeated the Lakers 3-2.
This matchup is an exciting one when looking down the résumés of each squad. Both teams are among the top 20 in the nation for both offense and defense and riding three game unbeaten streaks going back to the end of the fall semester. A big part of this success has been each team’s net minder, senior Nick Therrien for Utica and freshman Matt Zawadzki for Oswego State, who are each in the top 20 among goalies across the nation for goals against average and save percentage.
The senior versus freshman matchup does not stop in net. Four of Oswego State’s top six leading scorers are freshmen, while Utica’s top six includes four seniors and two juniors. The Pioneers handled a young Wisconsin-Stout team in yesterday’s first round but the Lakers have proven through their first nine contests that they are no ordinary youthful squad. Not to mention, the other two scorers in their top six are junior assistant captain Bobby Gertsakis and junior Division I University of Vermont transfer Mike Montagna, who have combined for an impressive 11 assists in the past six games.
Even though Oswego State is without 15 of the 24 players from last season’s national runner up team, this year’s team has proven early on that it can compete with any team, even the country’s elite programs.
Puck drops for the consolation game at 4 p.m. followed by the championship at 7 p.m.