Lakers blow lead, draw with Golden Eagles

Freshman Mitch Herlihey streaks toward the College at Brockport net before beating Golden Eagles' goaltender Jared Lockhurst for the Lakers' second goal in a 4-4 tie on Friday night at the Marano Campus Center Arena. Herlihey has scored in three straight games and has five goals on the year (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).
Freshman Mitch Herlihey streaks toward the College at Brockport net before beating Golden Eagles’ goaltender Jared Lockhurst for the Lakers’ second goal in a 4-4 tie on Friday night at the Marano Campus Center Arena. Herlihey has scored in three straight games and has five goals on the year (David Armelino | The Oswegonian).

Oswego State gave up its lead lead late in third period and was unable to capitalize on chances in overtime as it played to a draw with the College at Brockport on Friday night at the Marano Campus Center Arena, 4-4.

The Golden Eagles tied the game twice in less than 80 seconds during the final minutes of the third on goals from junior James Ryan and sophomore Jake Taylor kept the visitors in the game.

Laker head coach Ed Gosek saw tonight’s performance as a missed opportunity, but did not think it was all bad.

“We did some good things and we did some bad things. I mean, hey, we had the opportunity early on to put the game away, but we didn’t bear down on our chances,” Gosek said. “We had a lack of focus and intensity on Grade A scoring opportunities and then it came back to haunt us.”

Oswego State started off the opening frame quick and aggressive, firing a majority of the game’s early shots. However, it was the visitors that struck first off the stick of Taylor, who finished the game with two goals.

At the 6:14 mark of the period, Taylor picked up a rebound to the night of the net and beat Laker junior goalie Justin Gilbert through his five-hole, giving the Golden Eagles an early 1-0 lead.

The tally shifted momentum the College at Brockport’s way for a majority of the period from that point on, but Oswego State continued to create chances of its own. With 3:37 left on the clock, the Golden Eagles gave the Lakers’ power play, currently the best in Div. III, a chance to get to work when Chad Cummings was sent off for interference.

The home side held the zone for nearly the entire man advantage without a whistle, but shots were finding other Lakers in front of the net or bouncing wide leaving the usually effective power play units goalless for their first opportunity of the night.

The lack of scoring for Oswego State was not due to a lack of chances as it finished the period with the advantage in shots, 16-6.

It was not even 90 seconds into the second before the Lakers found an equalizer by way of senior defenseman Mike Wills. Wills sent a shot from the right circle that bounced off Lockhurst and into the back of the cage.

Thirty-two seconds later, the third-ranked offense in the nation struck again to take its first lead of the night. The second tally came from freshman Mitch Herlihey who potted his fifth of the season, extending his streak to three straight games with a goal.

After a defensive lapse along the nearside boards, Herlihey was left with a one-on-none breakaway. The Ottawa, Ont.-native sent a wrister from the left dot around Lockhurst and into the back of the net, 2-1 Oswego State.

At 5:03 of the second, the College at Brockport sent junior Chris Luker to the box giving the Lakers their second power play of the night. Oswego State did not take advantage of Luker’s stay in the bin as it went to 0-for-2 on the night when up-a-man.

The Lakers finished the evening just one-for-four on the power play and Gosek credited his team’s opponent for playing well to stop the usual contributors on the man advantage.

“If we got [Galati] the puck, there was a guy in the shooting lane. He’s not going to blast through a guy. That’s going to happen. Teams are going to key on him,” Gosek said. “We need to move the puck quickly enough so he’s in a spot with an open lane to the net. I think our puck movement was okay, but not as quickly as I have to get teams out of position so that we create shooting lanes. It’s not rocket science. They packed it in and took the passing lanes away from Gertsakis, Botten and Galati, and their fourth guy collapsed on Hulshof. So, we have to find ways to get through and get hard working goals.”

Even though the Lakers struggled in the category, the Golden Eagles were able to bury a power play goal of their own to tie the score at 11:14 of the second when Ryan put home a rebound off an initial shot from the point by Luker. Ryan’s goal came just 37 seconds into the power play opportunity, and was his first of two on the evening as well.

A tripping call on sophomore Andrew Parks just minutes later opened the door for Laker senior Mike Montagna to give his team back the lead. At 13:43 of the period, sophomore Andrew Barton made a no-look, backhand pass through the crease to Montagna. The Fulton-native was able to put it away top shelf on a wide open net.

The period closed out with Gilbert and the Laker defense making several impressive stands in the low slot in order to keep the visitors off the board. An equalizer seemed in the offing in the final minutes as Gilbert allowed a dangerous rebound, which sophomore Kenny Neil had to tip away, while avoiding a high sticking violation, as it bounced high and on frame.

For the first 14 and a half minutes of the third, it appeared the Lakers were going to hold on for a one-goal victory, but at 14:39 of the final frame it was Ryan who found another equalizer for the visitors. Freshman Dylan Shapiro sent a backhander off Gilbert that landed in the crease behind him for Ryan to put away.

Then, 25 seconds later, Oswego State freshman David Ferreira fought to get the puck to the right pipe on a wrap around and sent it through the crease to linemate Krystian Yorke who finished it to give the home team the lead again, 4-3.

It was no more than 11 seconds later, when Taylor put home the game’s final tally at 15:15 of the third, beating Gilbert under his right arm from the bottom of the near circle.

Gosek thought his junior goaltender could have had a better night, but also put some of the responsibility for the game’s end result on the skaters who played in front of Gilbert as well.

“He was off a bit, but we didn’t give him much support either,” Gosek said. “It shouldn’t have even come to that. It’s puck management. We turned the puck over too many times, our D zone responsibilities, starting with our D and our forwards, weren’t good. So, do we think he could have played better? Of course he could’ve. I’m sure he wishes he could’ve had some of them back, but you can’t go down and get a great energy goal late and then come out, let them walk right through and get an opportunity like. He made some big saves when we were up by a goal, and people forget that. Was he on his game like last week? He wasn’t as sharp, but again you have to find a way and we shouldn’t be giving up those Grade A opportunities.”

From that point through the ensuing overtime, the Lakers continued to apply the most pressure on the offensive end, but found nothing but iron and miss fires when Lockhurst was not making acrobatic saves to keep the College at Brockport in the game. Lockhurst finished with 41 saves to Gilbert’s 24.

Senior assistant captain Nick Rivait made his 2014-2015 season debut on Friday night and Gosek was very pleased with what he saw.

“I thought he played exceptionally well, kept it simple,” Gosek said. “He didn’t show any signs of rustiness. Maybe his conditioning wasn’t there, so his shifts were short. But I thought he played extremely well, probably the best of our D because he played a simple game and didn’t try to do too much.”

The Lakers are now 5-0-1, 3-0-1 in SUNYAC play. They return to the ice tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. when they take part in the Frozen Dome Classic at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome against the Utica College Pioneers.