The 2017-18 Oswego State men’s hockey team has only seen close games that go down to the wire, and that trend continued tonight in the 5-3 win over the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils at the Marano Campus Center Ice Arena.
The physical tone of tonight’s contest was established just seconds into the game, when Max Blitz of the Blue Devils hit Laker forward Michael Gillespie from behind and was subsequently given a five-minute major and disqualified for the remaining 59:36 of the contest.
There were many chances for Oswego State to get on the board during the power play, including a Mitch Herlihey shot off the post coming from a pass off the stick of his linemate Gillespie, but the Lakers could not capitalize.
“We didn’t score, but I thought we played well and gained momentum,” Oswego State head coach Ed Gosek said. “It helped set us up.”
With just over four minutes remaining in the first period, Oswego was able to get on the board with a Cam Berry backhand goal on a scrum in front of the net that led to an open net for Berry to bury it behind goalie Eric Bogart.
Fredonia would score the next three goals, two in the third period, following a slow second period that only saw a Sam Wilbur goal.
Mike Freeman gave the Blue Devils a lead with a wrist shot over the glove side shoulder of Cedric Hansen at the 7:48 mark of the third period.
A turning point in the game came just over a minute later when Max Novick was called for interference after laying out Oskar Gerhardson at center ice, which was initially not called.
“I disagreed with the call,” Gosek said “But hey, you can’t let the officiating affect you on the ice.”
Bobby Polachek scored just nine seconds after the long delay where the referees decided to give Novick the penalty to put the Blue Devils up 3-1.
The Lakers would begin mounting their comeback when Tanner Spink picked up his own rebound off the pad of Bogart, following a Josh Zizek pass from the across the crease to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Lakers would tie the game on an Aaron Huffnagle power play goal. The sophomore picked up a Zizek rebound and fired it past Bogart, who was the one that took the penalty that put the Blue Devils a man down.
Oswego State would take a lead at the 12:39 of the third period, and never look back.
Zizek exhibited soft hands in front of the net putting his dangling skills on display to put the Lakers up by a score of 4-3.
SUNY Fredonia would pull Bogart late in the third in hopes of tying the game up, but Zizek made them pay again with an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining to ice the game and secure the 5-3 win for Oswego State.
The Lakers improved to 5-1-0 overall, and 3-0-0 in the SUNYAC, while SUNY Fredonia fell to 3-4-1, 2-3-0.
The Lakers will take a Thanksgiving break next weekend, and return to the ice on the road Dec. 1 against SUNY Geneseo.