In Division III men’s ice hockey, games that are tied after five minutes of overtime usually end tied, but this evening in Oswego such was not the case.
Due to this weekend’s contest between #9 Utica College Pioneers (9-2-2, 5-1-1) and #13 Oswego State Lakers (6-2-2, 4-2-1) being a tournament championship, the game went on to a shootout, after overtime ended with the sides squared at two, in which both teams got three shots, and the hosts came out on top, 3-2, taking the shootout 2-1.
However, NCAA rules state that this game will count as a tie on each team’s record, the shootout only played to decide a champion of the tournament.
Jumping right in where the most exciting action happened, Utica’s first shooter, junior Louie Educate nearly gave his team the early lead sending his shot off the post, causing the Campus Center Ice Arena crowd to take a sigh of relief.
Oswego State got out in front in the shootout when junior transfer Mike Montagna, eventually named tournament most valuable player, beat Pioneers’ goalie freshman Marcus Zelzer. Montagna finished the Classic with one goal, yesterday’s game-winner, and an assist on the game tying goal this evening.
The visitors knotted it up at one apiece as senior Rob Morton slipped the puck just inside the left pipe past an oncoming Matt Zawadzki, the Oswego State freshman goalie. Zawadzki, who appears to have the starting job in the Laker net on lockdown now, had 25 saves to bring his tournament total to 40, good enough to earn him All-Tournament goalie honors. Zawadzki finished the weekend undefeated, including a shutout victory last night.
The Lakers next sent up sophomore transfer Brandon Adams, who scored the second goal last night versus Curry, and he was turned away on an impressive save by Zelzer who stuck his legs up in the air, while on his stomach, to keep the score tied at one. The Green Bay native finished the contest with 42 saves, a career high.
Zawadzki, who was visibly upset after allowing Morton’s goal in, stood tall against the Pioneers third shooter senior Jon Gaffney halting the forward’s attempt at giving his team the lead. Gaffney was named to the All-Tournament team after finishing the two days of competition with three goals, including the go-ahead score early in the third this evening.
Finally, Oswego State senior captain David Titanic did what leaders do best and delivered the knockout punch of the PathFinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic. The Markham, Ontario native streaked through the slot with lightning speed before making a move just below the left circle and releasing a shot up and over a diving Zelzer.
After just over 33 minutes of scoreless hockey in which the Lakers used physical play and some decent countering chances to keep a solid Utica team at bay, the defending champions grabbed the first lead of the game at 13:13 of the second period on the back of freshman Kenny Neil. The goal was Neil’s first of two on the evening, earning him a spot on the All-Tournament team.
The little forward who was at the heart of the offense last night was on the receiving end of a pass from fellow freshman Alex Botten who just missed on a chance second before but kept with the play and found his linemate on a look from the boards behind the Pioneers net. Freshman defenseman Chris Raguseo grabbed the secondary assist on the play, his second assist of the weekend.
Just over two minutes later, Utica found its response when junior Justin Hogan put away a pass from freshman Luc Boby on an odd man rush. Even though he did not get recognized for it with any accolades, Boby had a strong tournament, grabbing a goal and four assists after coming to Oswego this weekend with just one of each.
The second period would come to a close standing at the score of one goal all, but the scoring was not over just yet.
Seven minutes into the final frame of regulation, Gaffney grabbed the third goal which eluded him in yesterday afternoon’s matchup with Wisconsin-Stout. The senior was in the right place at the right time, beating the Oswego State freshman goalie up top and giving the visitors their only lead of the night.
On the flip side, with just about seven minutes remaining it was Neil again finding the twine to help his team’s cause.
Usually a helper in the Lakers scoring attack with seven assists in his freshman campaign, the tournament all-star came up big with his second and third goals of the season after contributing an assist last night against Curry.
Time would run out on regulation before either team could break the tie as the game headed to overtime.
In the extra five minutes of play, the Lakers had the better chances, including two-minutes on the man advantage after Utica freshman Kevin Kirisits was called for cross checking. The inability to capitalize was the story of the night when it came to the power play as both teams went 0-for-3 when their opponents had a man in the box.
The hosts outshot their opponent 9-1 in the extra frame, but could not find the back of the net. Nonetheless, they were still able to defend the PathFinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic when all was said and done.
In the tournament consolation game, it was the University of Wisconsin-Stout Blue Devils (4-8-0, 1-1-0) who held off the Curry College Colonels (2-7-1, 1-4-0) to take third place, 3-2. The Blue Devils junior defenseman Jordan Tredinnick, along with Utica’s senior Steve Zappia were the All-Tournament team defensive pairing.
Next up for Oswego State is a date with the Connecticut College Camels back at the Campus Center Ice Arena this upcoming Tuesday night at 7 p.m. as it continues its winter break schedule.