The men’s ice hockey team kicked off its 50th anniversary weekend with a runaway victory over the SUNY Canton Kangaroos on Friday night, 9-1.
Sophomores Matt Galati and Stephen Johnson each had two goals in the affair, but the offense was spread around as 10 Lakers finished the evening with at least a point.
Head coach Ed Gosek was pleased with the victory, but saw several areas where his team still needs to improve moving forward.
“I thought we were out of sync the whole game,” Gosek said. “Canton played hard and they brought a lot of energy. But, we had a lot of unforced turnovers and it just seemed we were out of sync tonight. I don’t think the score is indicative of how we played. I just think we were a little sloppy, passing the puck when we should be shooting and shooting when we should be passing, and not head manning it, too much one on one and D were too active in the offense. So, just a lot of little things.”
The chances came in bunches early on in the first for Oswego State. Within the first several minutes, junior Mac Scott and sophomore Sean Federow combined to get a look from the point, which sailed just wide, and freshman Mitch Herlihey and Galati worked the puck into the slow slot for an unfruitful wristshot.
From there, the Lakers allowed time on attack to balance out as the bad giveaways, which were such a part of last Saturday’s second period, resurfaced. However, the Kangaroos were unable to get a clear look on net before Oswego State was able to strike with the game’s first goal.
Following a shift by the line of sophomores Shawn Hulshof and Kenny Neil and senior Mike Montagna during which they let four Grade A chances fly, it was Federow who found the back of the net for his first Laker goal at 5:55 of the first.
Federow’s father, Art, played for Oswego State from 1978 to 1982. The younger Federow was pleased to get his first goal with his father and his teammates in attendance for this weekend’s anniversary celebration.
“It’s awesome and special,” Federow said. “With my parents and my dad’s friends, I mean, his whole team’s back and it was nice for them to be able to see me score my first one. Obviously, I’m real excited. The crowd was awesome tonight.”
Chances were few and far between from then on and it appeared as though the period would end with the Lakers leading 1-0, before Tyler Ralph was sent to the box for slashing. The penalty opened the door for fifth-best power play in the nation.
With 24 seconds left on the man advantage, Johnson beat freshman Spencer Landry with a one timer from atop the left circle to double the home side’s lead at 19:40.
The Kangaroos started the second frame off with several chances, suggesting their first goal of the game was not far off. At the 5:32 mark of the period, sophomore Nick Vasilopoulos found the back of the next off a feed from captain George Curry to cut the team’s deficit in half.
It was only 18 seconds of game play later when Herlihey responded to expand the lead back to two. The Ottawa native patiently carried the puck the right pipe before lifting a backhand over Landry.
Another power play opportunity, when SUNY Canton’s Jordan Grimsley was called for boarding, gave the Lakers’ top man advantage unit another go around to get a goal of its own of the stick of Galati. Hulshof picked up the lone assist on the goal, his first of three on the evening.
The home team potted a third goal in the span of four minutes and three seconds at the 9:53 mark as senior Mike Montagna picked up his second goal in as many games to make the score 5-1 Lakers.
Oswego State continued to pressure the Kangaroos intermittently for the rest of the period, but it would not be until just over a minute into the third when the sixth goal came, followed by the seventh just two minutes and 41 seconds later.
The goals were each the second of the night for the finishers as they came off the sticks of Johnson and Galati, respectively. Galati scored on the power play, once again, with SUNY Canton sophomore Eric Witzel, a transfer from Oswego State, in the box for goalie interference after a big hit on Laker goalie Justin Gilbert.
Gilbert finished the contest with just 15 saves in his return to the net following freshman Mackenzie Sawyer getting the nod against SUNY Cortland last weekend. Despite not seeing much action, Gosek thought his junior goaltender played well.
“I thought he was good when he had to be good,” Gosek said. “In those games, to keep your focus when you’re not getting a lot of work, and tracking the puck. I thought he did a good job. Those games aren’t easy to stay focused. But, I thought, actually, there was a power play in the second period where the puck got tipped and he was there to smother it. Those plays, when you’re not getting a lot of work, is difficult for goalies.
Galati’s two goals and Johnson’s first were all on the power play, where the Lakers finished the night 3-for-4. Gosek was not surprised with the success as many of the players who play in those situations are in their second year together.
“It’s just they have been together for a year,” Gosek said. “Some of the things that were forced last year, they’re not forcing. They’re being more patient, looking for the open guy. It’s not just feed Galati, feed Galati, feed Galati. There’s other weapons there.”
It was just over 10 minutes before the Lakers scored again but, for the third time in the game, one goal was quickly followed by another as junior Morgan Bonner and Neil each scored in a 32 second span at 14:16 and 14:48 of the third, respectively.
Bonner was able to turn and sneak a wristshot under Landry’s left arm from the low slot before Neil scored his fourth of the season on a one timer. Neil has now scored at least one goal in each of the Lakers first four games.
After the ninth goal, junior Louie Puig relieved Landry in net for the final 5:12 of the the third frame. Landry finished the night with 25 saves.
With the win, the Lakers improve to 4-0 on the season. They head right back to the ice Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the second game of 50th anniversary weekend against Nazareth College, coached by former Laker head coach George Roll. Roll was at the helm in Oswego from 1996 to 2003.