The come from behind effort that many expected the Lakers to face last weekend ended up being needed on Friday night as the men’s ice hockey team scored four unanswered to come back from three down on opening night at Buffalo State to beat the Bengals, 4-3.
Now, the focus turns to night two of the Western New York road trip at SUNY Fredonia as the Lakers look to knock off the Blue Devils in the series opener, avenging their home loss in the opener last season. SUNY Fredonia played to a draw in its opener on Friday night against SUNY Cortland, 2-2.
Both of these teams return much of their rosters from the 2013-2014 season, including each bringing back a pair of talented goalies who split time last season. The Lakers return 92 percent of their offensive production from a season ago, while the Blue Devils have 83 percent back themselves.
After SUNY Fredonia took game one at Oswego State last fall, the Lakers took the second regular season matchup, as well as the rubber match during the SUNYAC Championships. Both tilts at the venue formerly known as the Campus Center Arena were tight until the end; however, the game at Fredonia was quite one side as Oswego State came out victorious, 5-1.
Shifting the focus to tonight’s matchup, both sides showed a lot of fight after getting behind in their season openers on Friday. The Lakers made the aforementioned comeback and SUNY Fredonia made a mini-comeback of its own on a shorthand equalizer by senior Stephen Castriota midway through the second period.
The only question tonight will be in net for Oswego State. Blue Devils’ junior Nick Flagler looked solid in net against SUNY Cortland and appears to be the favorite to patrol the crease again on Saturday. As for the Lakers, head coach Ed Gosek pulled sophomore standout Matt Zawadzki early in the second period last night after Bengals’ junior Nick Melligan potted his third unanswered goal. Junior Justin Gilbert relieved for the rest of the second and the entire third without surrendering a score, raising the question of who will get the nod on Saturday. Zawadzki was the front runner to start the season, so still expect to seem him against SUNY Fredonia.
By the numbers:
4:32–In the season opener in Oswego last year, it took 4:32 of overtime play to decide a winner between the Blue Devils and Lakers when Hunter Long gave the visitor a 3-2 triumph.
9-Oswego State had nine different scorers pot its 10 goals in three games against SUNY Fredonia last season.
10-It has been 10 seasons since SUNY Fredonia has taken down Oswego State at Steele Hall Ice Arena, a 3-2 victory on Dec. 3, 2004. The Blue Devils and Lakers played to a 5-5 draw at SUNY Fredonia the following season, but the three victories SUNY Fredonia has since then have been at Oswego State.
50-Of the Blue Devils’ six goals against the Lakers last season, 50 percent of them came on the man advantage.
Scoring/Special teams breakdown (Statistics reflect 2013-2014 season):
Scoring offense:Oswego State-3.97 goals per game (7th nationally)
SUNY Fredonia: 2.50 goals per game (T-56th nationally)
Scoring defense: Oswego State-2.32 goals allowed per game(14th nationally)
SUNY Fredonia-3.31 goals allowed per game (49th nationally)
Power play:Oswego State-27.27 percent [39 of 143] (6th nationally)
SUNY Fredonia-15.74 percent [17 of 108] (55th nationally)
Penalty kill:Oswego State-79.40 percent [85 of 107] (T-46th nationally)
SUNY Fredonia-75.90 percent [82 of 108] (66th nationally)
Goalie matchup (Career statistics):
Sophomore Matt Zawadzki: (15-3-2, 2.16 GAA, .922 save percentage, 4 SO)
Junior Justin Gilbert: (9-4-0, 2.32 GAA, .910 save percentage, 1 SO)
Junior Nick Flagler: (4-7-3, 2.94 GAA, .920 save percentage, 2 SO)
Sophomore Christopher Eiserman: (3-6-3, 3.50 GAA, .894 save percentage, 0 SO)
Player to watch: Oswego State senior forward Chris Carr: Injuries have plagued Carr throughout his career at Oswego State, including an injury against SUNY Fredonia in last season’s opener that kept him out for much of the first half of the season. A player that many have anticipated breaking out, Carr had a goal in last night’s 4-3 win. The last time Oswego State traveled to SUNY Fredonia, Carr had a goal.
Prediction: 3-1 Oswego State