The men’s ice hockey team slipped into the 2015 NCAA Tournament field with the final at-large bid and now has second life as it heads to Geneva on Saturday.
Despite losing two of its last four games, the selection committee believed the Lakers’ body of work put them ahead of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) tournament champion Wisconsin-River Falls and WIAC member Wisconsin-Eau Claire. That being said, the road ahead is not easy.
Oswego State’s next opponent, Hobart College, is the ECAC West regular season and tournament champion and is currently on a 10-game winning streak, only losing once in 14 games since falling to the Lakers on Jan. 9 at the Marano Campus Center Arena.
The Statesmen were awarded home-ice advantage for the NCAA first-round contest sending the Lakers to a building where their opponent is 12-2 on the season. However, it is also of note that the Lakers are 7-1-1 on the road during the 2014-2015 season.
Each side enters Saturday’s game heading in opposite directions. Hobart College is on a substantial winning streak, while the Lakers have fallen flat in their last four after losing just one of their previous 15. But, the slate is now wiped clean.
Laker head coach Ed Gosek has his highly talented defensive core back as well as goaltender Matt Zawadzki, recently named to the second team All-SUNYAC. Gosek also continues to shake up his forward lines, trying to spark the team’s fourth-ranked offense in the nation, as well as finding forward lines that play well together in their own end.
Solid play in the defensive zone will be crucial to Oswego State’s success against the Statesmen. The hosts for this weekend’s game are outscoring opponents three goals to one during their current winning streak. Oswego State’s ability to hold Hobart college’s offense at bay will be crucial, as goals will most likely be few and far between against Hobart’s talented freshman back stop.
In all facets of the game, the Lakers and Statesmen are evenly matched statistically, meaning the game ahead will come down to who wants it more.