Laker Gameday Preview: Feb. 13 at The College at Brockport

No. 2 Oswego State is on its Rochester-area road trip this weekend with one thing in mind, picking up conference points.

The Lakers are currently three points behind No. 9 SUNY Plattsburgh for the SUNYAC lead. With the Cardinals playing two more SUNYAC games than the Lakers to this point in the season, the Cardinals now sit dormant until traveling to Central New York for their final two regular season games next weekend. Thus, two wins this weekend over the College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo would put the Lakers one point ahead of the Cardinals heading into the much anticipated White Out Weekend.

But, first, the focus for Oswego State is Friday night in Brockport. On its last trip to Brockport, Oswego State shutout the Golden Eagles, 4-0. However, since then, the College at Brockport spoiled the Lakers’ Senior Night last spring and the start of Frozen Dome weekend this past fall with a 3-2 win and 4-4 tie, respectively. Confidence is much higher than it once was in the Golden Eagles locker room.

Another component of Friday night’s game is the fact that the College at Brockport is currently in situation in the SUNYAC standings where it needs to win to keep pace. Its 10 points in league puts it in a tie for the fifth of six spots in the conference tournament with SUNY Potsdam and Buffalo State. SUNY Cortland is just two points behind with eight, so the Golden Eagles need to continue gaining points to stay in the playoff picture.

The College at Brockport is led by juniors Chase Nieuwendyk (14 goals-10 assists-24 points) and Chris Luker (2-18-20), but in November it was junior James Ryan (7-5-12) and sophomore Jake Taylor (4-8-12) producing the offense in Oswego. The combo contributed two goals apiece.

The Golden Eagles will need to score on Friday night in order to keep pace with the Lakers who average over five goals a game, two goals higher than the nearly three goals a game allowed by the Golden Eagles. The College at Brockport’s senior goalie Aaron Green has built on his strong run at the end of last season and put together a solid final year. He held the Lakers to two goals last March, as opposed to his backup, sophomore Jared Lockhurst, who has given up four goals in each of his two starts against Oswego State.

Sophomore Kenny Neil (9-13-22) is out of the lineup for Oswego State for the third straight game, but the team still champions five other 20-point scorers, including a potent second line and top power play line that is among the nation’s best. Also, look out for freshman Jack Johnson (1-2-3) who has moved up into Neil’s spot on the top line in the sophomore’s absence. His energy and hard-working style could just be the difference on Friday as he brings an ability to create a multitude of Grade A scoring opportunities, something the Lakers have lacked at crucial points during their last two times out against the Golden Eagles.

By the numbers

1.4-Oswego State has given 1.4 goals per game since starting SUNYAC play back up on Jan. 23. That is nearly one goal lower per game than its average for the season overall.

15-The Lakers’ second line of Hulshof, Montagna and Herlihey has combined to score 15 of the team’s 31 goals in its last five SUNYAC games.

21-The Golden Eagles snapped the Lakers 21-game winning streak in the series when they won 3-2 on Senior Night at the Marano Campus Center Arena last February. The two sides played to a 4-4 tie in Oswego back in November.

Scoring/Special Teams Breakdown

Offense

Oswego State: 5.10 goals per game (1st in Division III)

The College at Brockport: 3.05 goals per game (T-33rd in Division III)

Defense

Oswego State: 2.20 goals per game (T-12th in Division III)

The College at Brockport: 2.86 goals per game (T-34th in Division III)

Power Play

Oswego State: 32.43 percent [24-of-74] (2nd in Division III)

The College at Brockport: 25.29 percent [22-of-87] (11th in Division III)

Penalty Kill

Oswego State: 80.60 percent [50-of-62] (T-45th in Division III)

The College at Brockport: 78.80 percent [63 of 80] (T-51 in Division III)

Goalie Matchup

Oswego State: Matt Zawadzki (8-1-1/2.33 GAA/.916 save percentage)

The College at Brockport: Aaron Green (8-5-0/2.44 GAA/.924 save percentage)

Player to Watch: Oswego State freshman forward John Jackson

Prediction: 6-4 Oswego State