Laker Gameday Preview: Feb. 15 v. the College at Brockport

After four years of donning an Oswego State uniform, senior captain David Titanic will lead the Lakers on the Campus Center ice in a regular season game one last time tonight versus the College at Brockport (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).
After four years of donning an Oswego State uniform, senior captain David Titanic will lead the Lakers on the Campus Center ice in a regular season game one last time tonight versus the College at Brockport (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).

After four years of seeing the white, and a few times gold, No. 17 and No. 23 jerseys take the Campus Center ice, the Oswego State faithful say goodbye tonight.

Seniors David Titanic and Kyle Badham will be honored tonight as the Class of 2014 plays its last regular season home game versus the College at Brockport Golden Eagles.

“Badham’s are most conditioned athlete; Titanic’s our most complete player, defensively and offensively. He’s never been a kid to put up big numbers, but he does all the little things well,” said head coach Ed Gosek. “Like tonight (versus SUNY Geneseo), average fan isn’t watching him (Titanic) get back, pick up the right guys on the backcheck, win battles along the walls, chipping pucks in at the right time and doing all the right things. So, those plays by them and Kyle just being a warrior out there, leading by example and driving the net hard. Those are positive things for those two guys and we’ll miss them.”

As Gosek eluded to, this year’s senior class is not one loaded with huge point scorer, but instead just solid veterans to lead a very young Oswego State team. Titanic, the team’s captain, has just seven goals and four assists through 22 games; however, his points, especially his goals have come at very crucial times throughout the season. He tallied three goals last weekend at Morrisville, including the one to open the scoring in the Friday game and his lone goal in the Saturday contest tied the game at one in the first.

Then, his goals during White Out Weekend, his first two of the year, were memorable as well. His goal on Dec. 6 against SUNY Potsdam was his first of the season and the team’s first short-handed goal of the year, as he capped off a very successful night for his team on the scoreboard.

Fast forward to the following night against archrival SUNY Plattsburgh, and it was Titanic picking up where he left off the previous night, opening up the scoring and gave his team the first lead of the game, early in the second period.

Badham, one of Titanic’s assistant captains, has just one goal and two assists on the season. Yet, he has still made a huge impact on this year’s team that many will never realize because it does not show up on the stat sheet.

The word in the locker room, among some of the players, is that they have never worked so hard in training and this year’s level of intensity is, in great part, due to the leadership of Badham. The work ethic of the Oakville, Ont. native has rubbed off on his teammates and it has shown on the ice as the Lakers continue to be a physical, hard working team, night in and night out.

Now, turning the focus to the game at hand this evening, after last night’s loss to SUNY Geneseo (17-5-0, 11-2-0), a bye to the semifinals looks much further out of reach as the Knights now sit five points ahead of No.9 Oswego State (15-5-2, 8-4-1) in the SUNYAC standings with three games left to play. But, the loss, and a Buffalo State (9-9-5, 6-4-4) tie at SUNY Fredonia (6-10-6, 4-5-5), leaves the Lakers just point ahead for third place.

Turn the focus to the Golden Eagles (7-12-3, 4-8-1) and they have a tight race of their own down the stretch. With their 5-3 win at SUNY Cortland (4-14-3, 3-8-2) last night, the Golden Eagles moved past the Red Dragons in the standings and are currently sitting in sixth place (holding the final SUNYAC playoff spot), one point ahead of SUNY Potsdam (8-12-2, 3-8-2), as well. The Bears face off for the second night in a row tonight with Morrisville State, following a 4-3 win in North Country last night.

Previous matchup: Oswego State 4  The College at Brockport 0: After relieving sophomore goaltender Justin Gilbert for the final 20 minutes at SUNY Geneseo the previous night, freshman Matt Zawadzki stepped into the crease at Brockport and pitched his first collegiate shutout, stopping all 26 shots he faced.

On the other end of the ice, sophomore Jared Lockhurst did not have the same success of his counterpart when facing the Oswego State offense, allowing four goals on 26 shots faced.

Freshman Dylan Smith opened up the scoring for the Lakers with the eventual game winner at 9:43 of the first period off the feed from fellow freshman Beau Orser. The assist was Orser’s first collegiate point. Freshman Matt Galati picked up the secondary assist for his first of three points on the evening.

It was about 10 minutes before Galati doubled the lead with 45 seconds remaining in the opening period, assisted by Smith and junior assistant captain Bobby Gertsakis.

At 14:45 of the second period, freshman Chris Raguseo buried a pass from fellow freshman Andrew Barton to make it a three-goal lead. Raguseo’s finish was his first collegiate goal, as well as his first collegiate point.

Finally, just about six-and-a-half minutes into the final period, Galati finished off the scoring from the evening with his second goal of the night. The assists on the goal were credited to sophomore and Canisius College transfer Mac Scott and freshman Shawn Hulshof.

By the numbers: In most sports, when it comes down to it, the winner is the team with the higher total on the scoreboard. When looking at the offensive and defensive averages of these two team’s, it is no secret why the Lakers have been more successful.

Factoring in the results of last night, Oswego State is currently fifth in the nation in goals scored per game (4.23) and 11th in the nation in goals against per game (2.23), a goal difference margin of exactly plus-two.

Now, the College at Brockport is tied for 33rd in the country with Augsburg, Gustavus Adolphus and New England College when it comes to scoring goals (3.09) and is 59th-best when it comes to goals given up (3.73), a goal difference margin of minus-.64.

Turning focus to specifically SUNYAC play, the Lakers are second in the conference in both goals scored and goals against per game, scoring four and giving up 2.46 for a goal difference margin of plus-1.54.

By comparison, the Golden Eagles are sixth in scoring in the conference (3.00) and eighth in defense (4.00) for a goal difference margin of exactly minus-one.

The College at Brockport will look to its offense to take some of the pressure off the struggling defense tonight and, as far as SUNYAC play goes, they have some weapons to work with.

Senior Chris Cangro (four goals and 13 assists overall, three and 11 in SUNYAC play) is in the top-ten for conference play in points scored, assists and points on the power play. The team leader in points, sophomore Chase Nieuwendyk (seven and 14 overall, five and seven in SUNYAC) is another solid power play threat as he is tied for 10th in total points and tied for fourth in goals when his team has an extra skater.

As for Oswego State, Galati (18 and seven overall, eight and four in SUNYAC) has been a huge story offensively, leading the nation in goals scored and tied for fifth in Division III in power play goals; however, there are a couple juniors who have stepped up in conference play under the radar.

Mike Montagna (seven and 18 overall, three and 12 in SUNYAC), a junior transfer from University of Vermont, is in the top ten in the SUNYAC for total points scored and points on the power play, not to mention he leads the conference in assists. Also, assistant captain Nick Rivait (three and 12 overall, three and 10 in SUNYAC) leads the conference in scoring for defensemen.

Senior assistant captain Kyle Badham has dealt with his fair share of bumps and bruise throughout his career in Oswego. Tonight, he will be honored for fighting on and being a true warrior for the Laker program (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).
Senior assistant captain Kyle Badham has dealt with his fair share of bumps and bruise throughout his career in Oswego. Tonight, he will be honored for fighting on and being a true warrior for the Laker program (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).

Special teams breakdown: Tonight’s matchup pits against each other two of the best teams in the nation on the power play. The Lakers are currently ranked fourth in Division III at 28.44 percent efficiency, while the Golden Eagles sit in eighth at 25.00 percent.

In SUNYAC play, the College at Brockport is ahead of Oswego State in fourth at 22.80 percent as the hosts for tonight’s contest are currently sixth at 22.40 percent.

Looking at each team’s penalty kill units, Oswego State is ranked 30th in Division III, stopping teams from scoring on the power play 82.70 percent of the time, and the College at Brockport is 54th, allowing just 23 goals on 107 opportunities (78.50 percent efficiency).

When it comes to conference games, the Lakers are third at 82.00 percent efficiency, while the Golden Eagles, at 74.50 percent, are only better than Morrisville State (63.70 percent).

Goalie matchup: Gilbert (7-3-0, .910 save percentage, 2.26 goals against average) went down in the third period last night but, after taking a few minutes with the team trainer, he was able to stay in and finish the game, keeping him an option for Gosek tonight. The sophomore from Ottawa, Ont. has looked very impressive since coming back from a finger injury in early January. Although he gave up three first period goals less than 24 hours ago, he played solid in the two periods that followed. Another factor has been the struggles of his teammate Matt Zawadzki (8-2-2, .916, 2.09) in his last two starts at Buffalo State on Jan. 25 and Morrisville State on Feb. 8, neither of which he has play the entire 60 minutes.

For the Golden Eagles, it was junior Aaron Green (4-2-0, .889, 3.57) who stepped into the crease last night at SUNY Cortland. Even though he struggled through most of the first two periods, Green finished the game with 27 saves, including 12 in the middle period, to help keep the team within striking distance as they scored four unanswered in the last 22 minutes of play to win in comeback fashion.

That being said, Lockhurst (3-8-2, .903, 3.39)  has still gotten more of the starts, as he did last season, and may have just been given the night off. The sophomore net-minder has allowed only 12 goals in his last six games played, starting in all but one, showing a turn for the better at this crucial point in the season.

Player to watch: The College at Brockport senior forward Chris Cangro: The Holbrook, N.Y. native has been a huge factor for the Golden Eagles during SUNYAC play this season, with his final season winding down and a playoff berth on the line, look for him to step up and create offense for his team. With two viable scoring threats on the power play in Nieuwendyk and sophomore James Ryan, Cangro’s ability to set the table will be crucial if the visitors want to steal a win at the Campus Center Ice Arena tonight.

Prediction: 3-2 Oswego State in overtime