Lakers grind out win

The No. 10 Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (13-4-2, 6-3-1) had a strong first period to get ahead of SUNY Cortland (4-13-3, 3-7-2) by three but, after the Red Dragons responded to cut the lead to one, the Lakers needed a late goal by sophomore Holy Cross transfer Brandon Adams to take the game, 4-2.

It took the hosts most of the opening period to break through, but once they did multiple scores came as the Lakers put the puck past SUNY Cortland’s starting goalie senior Lyle Rocker three times in the final 4:38 of the first.

Freshman Chris Waterstreet struck first stuffing home a rebound at the right pipe off a shot initially taken by Adams at 15:22.

In the last 35 seconds Oswego State scored twice more, first at 19:25 when freshman Shawn Hulshof sent a cross ice pass through a Red Dragon’s legs to fellow freshman Kenny Neil who buried his tenth goal of the year. Freshman Manny Gialedakis earned the secondary assist on the play.

Next, with six seconds and change remaining, junior assistant captain Nick Rivait beat Rocker from the point off the feed from junior Vermont transfer Mike Montagna.

The struggles of Rocker led his head coach Tom Cranfield to pull the senior goalie for his fellow senior netminder Mark Balkwill.

After 28 minutes of impressive play by the Lakers starting goalie, sophomore Justin Gilbert, the visitors finally saw the fruit of their physical, hard work style show up on the scoreboard.

At 8:12 of the second, sophomore Michael Mascaro put away the period’s only goal, beating Gilbert top shelf over the net minders left shoulder. The goal was assisted by sophomores Brant Sherwood and Kyle Herring.

The game would go scoreless for the next 27:48, crossing over into the third, before SUNY Cortland scored its second unanswered to cut the deficit to just one goal.

Senior Mike Henrici beat Gilbert on a breakaway at 16:00 of the third off a lead pass by Sherwood who, with his second assist of the night, finished with a team-high two points. Henrici’s goal was only one of two shots to beat the sophomore goalie tonight as he finished the night with 28 saves.

With a chance to tie looking less bleak, the opportunity became more promising when Laker sophomore transfer from Sacred Heart Morgan Bonner took a two-minute penalty for hitting from behind.

Then, the first goal on a power play came off the stick of a player on the shorthanded team at 18:25 of the third.

Adams picked up a loose puck around the defensive zone blue line, carried it to just below the left circle and slid the puck past Balkwill to bring the game to its final scoreline. The two teams actually on the power play combined were 0-for-9. Oswego State went 0-for-4 when on the man advantage and SUNY Cortland went 0-for-5.

With the win, Oswego State created some separation between themselves and the Red Dragons whom at the beginning of night were just three points behind the Lakers for fourth. However, SUNY Fredonia (6-9-4, 4-4-3) picked up a 5-2 victory at home versus Morrisville State (5-13-2, 2-9-1) to stay two points out of the top four.

Since Buffalo State (9-8-3, 6-3-2) had the night off, Oswego State’s victory moved them back a point out of third after last weekend’s loss to the Bengals pushed the Lakers three points behind.

Oswego State is back in action next weekend with a two-game series at Morrisville State on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8. Puck drop is 7 p.m. for both contests.