Oswego State junior forward Paul Rodrigues made sure that the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team wasn’t going to come away with a tie this time against Morrisville State College, as he recorded five goals and an assist in an 8-1 victory for the Lakers over the Mustangs on Saturday night at the Iceplex.
Rodrigues netted a hat trick in the first period alone and scored five of the team’s first six goals to remain atop the SUNYAC standings with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Rodrigues becomes just the 10th player in Laker history to record a five-goal game. Brendan McLaughlin was the last to do it on Nov. 11, 2005, against Buffalo State. The program record for most goals in a game is seven by Pierre Bellanger and Sean Fitzgerald.
The first line of Rodrigues, and sophomore forwards Luke Moodie and Jon Whitelaw had themselves a night, finishing with a combined 13 points on six goals and seven assists. Moodie finished with four assists and Whitelaw added a goal and two assists.
Oswego State (17-2-2 overall, 10-0-2 SUNYAC) wasted no time in pulling ahead, as Rodrigues scored his first goal of the game at 1:33 of the first period while on the power play. Moodie and Whitelaw were credited with the assists. The power-play goal was set up by a tripping penalty by Ryan Marcuz.
Senior forward and assistant captain Ian Boots was the only player other than Rodrigues to score a goal in the first two periods, recording his seventh goal of the game on a tap in off a rebound from junior defenseman Taylor Farris.
Rodrigues got on the board again on the power play at 14:21 of the first period after a roughing penalty by Tom Longland. Moodie and junior forward Chris Muise were credited with the assists.
A little over four minutes later, Rodrigues earned the hat trick on an assist from Farris to give the Lakers a four-goal lead at the end of the first period. Although the shots were even at 11 for the first period, Oswego State was converting on 36 percent of its shots.
Rodrigues continued his moment into the second period, scoring the lone goal of the frame at 13:15 once again on the power play. Moodie and Whitelaw found Rodrigues following a hooking penalty by James Jarvis.
The Mustangs (4-17-1 overall, 3-10-1 SUNYAC) nearly allowed another power-play goal on Rodrigues’ fifth goal of the night, but Todd Hosmer’s roughing penalty expired just two seconds after the puck found the back of the net. Junior forward Chris Ayotte earned the assist on the play.
Morrisville managed to avoid the shutout when Hosmer tallied his 14th goal of the season at 8:24 of the third period. Tom Longland and Alex Tillaart were credited with the assists.
Hosmer’s goal did not stop the bleeding, as the Lakers tacked on two more goals before the end of the game. Whitelaw scored his 10th goal of the season at 9:42 of the third period before Muise added a power-play goal at 13:11. Rodrigues and Moodie earned assists on Whitelaw’s goal and Boots and junior defenseman Jesse McConney were credited with the assists on Muise’s goal.
The Mustangs, who came into the game leading Division III with penalty minutes per game, were whistled for 12 penalties totaling 24 penalty minutes. Oswego State made them pay all night long, finishing four-for-ten with the man advantage. Morrisville finished 1-for-7.
Christopher Azzano finished with seven saves and was pulled after the first period for Colin Breen. Breen finished with 35 saves, including 26 in the second period alone. Junior goaltender Andrew Hare finished with 23 saves to earn his 14th win in net this season.
The win, coupled with losses by Buffalo State and SUNY Fredonia, clinches a first-round bye and at least one home playoff game in the SUNYAC playoffs. The Lakers sit one point in front of SUNY Plattsburgh for the conference lead. The Cardinals defeated Buffalo State, 1-0, on Saturday night.
The Lakers return home for the remaining four games of the regular season. Oswego State hosts Fredonia on Friday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Campus Center Ice Arena. The Blue Devils are tied for third in the SUNYAC standings.