Laker Gameday Preview: NCAA Tournament Edition: Mar. 14 at No. 10 Hobart College

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.

By the numbers

4-Oswego State has four players with the same amount or more points as Hobart’s leading scorer, junior Bo Webster, who has 25 points.

5-The SUNYAC announced its 2015 season awards on Tuesday and named five Lakers across the three all-conference teams.

14-The Statemen’s freshman goaltender Frank Oplinger’s 14 wins are the most among Div. III’s rookie net-minders this season.

17-The last time Oswego State and Hobart faced off in Geneva on Dec. 8, 2012, Oswego State won on a goal by Chris Brown with 17 seconds remaining in overtime.

Scoring/Special Teams Breakdown

Offense

Oswego State: 4.42 goals per game (4th in Division III)

Hobart College: 3.85 goals per game (T-11th in Division III)

Defense

Oswego State: 2.12 goals per game (9th in Division III)

Hobart College: 2.37 goals per game (17th in Division III)

Power Play

Oswego State: 31.11 percent [28-of-90] (2nd in Division III)

Hobart College: 23.74 percent [33-of-139] (13th in Division III)

Penalty Kill

Oswego State: 83.70 percent [72-of-86] (28th in Division III)

Hobart College: 83.10 percent [108 of 130] (32nd in Division III)

Goalie Matchup

Oswego State: Matt Zawadzki (11-3-2/2.08 GAA/.924 save percentage)

Hobart College: Frank Oplinger (14-2-0/1.85 GAA/.939 save percentage)

Player to Watch: Hobart freshman Frank Oplinger

Prediction: 3-2 Oswego State