Lakers rout Fredonia; advance to SUNYAC final

It was this time last year when SUNY Fredonia ended the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team’s chances to repeat as SUNYAC champions in the 2011 SUNYAC semifinals, shocking the Lakers in overtime. The Lakers enacted some revenge on Saturday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena, defeating the Blue Devils, 8-3, in this year’s SUNYAC semifinals.

Junior forward Paul Rodrigues and senior forward Ian Boots each scored twice and junior defenseman Zach Josepher registered a goal and two assists for the Lakers, who advanced to the SUNYAC final next Saturday to be played at the Campus Center Ice Arena.

After putting up five goals in the first period the last time the Lakers hosted the Blue Devils, it was Fredonia that got on the board first, putting and end to an impressive scoreless streak by the defense that stretched back to Feb. 11 against Buffalo State. A turnover by senior forward Andrew Mather led to a breakaway attempt by Fredonia’s Brian Ross. En route to the Laker net, Ross was tripped up by senior defenseman Jared Anderson, causing the referee to call for a penalty shot at 7:09 of the first period. Ross got the better of junior goaltender Andrew Hare on the penalty shot, beating him glove side.

The Blue Devils carried the momentum through the majority of the first period, but saw their lead evaporate in the final two minutes of the frame after allowing two goals in a stretch of just 12 seconds. The Lakers received a power-play goal by junior forward Jon Whitelaw at 18:01 and Josepher gave Oswego State the lead at 18:13.

Oswego State took advantage of a tripping penalty by Fredonia’s Declan Gunovski to tie the game at one. Junior forward Chris Ayotte fed a cross-ice pass to Whitelaw at the far-side faceoff circle, who fired a wrist shot past Fredonia goaltender Mark Friesen for the goal. Josepher received the secondary assist on the play. Twelve seconds later, Ayotte won a faceoff in the offensive zone to Josepher, who blasted a shot from just inside the blue line past Friesen.

The Lakers would score a total of six unanswered goals before the Blue Devils would put the puck past Hare again late in the second period. Oswego State started the second period in the same fashion as the end of the first period, beginning with Rodrigues’ power-play goal at 1:02 on a slap shot from the left faceoff circle. Josepher and Whitelaw were credited with the assists on the play.

Although Oswego State didn’t have a penalty shot opportunity in the game, it did have a breakaway attempt that they took advantage of at 3:15 of the second period. Junior forward Chris Brown took possession of the puck at the defensive blue line after it deflected off the boards in the defensive end. Brown was behind the last line of Fredonia’s defense and skated in on net, beating Friesen stick side. Junior defenseman Jesse McConney was credited with the assist.

Oswego State scored its third power-play goal of the game at 5:47 of the second period on a one-timer by Boots while skating 5-on-3. Following a boarding penalty by Fredonia’s Ken Nosky and a roughing penalty by Ryan Edens, Boots received a pass from McConney just outside the left faceoff circle and rifled a shot past Friesen glove side.

Rodrigues would put an exclamation mark on the six-goal run with his second goal of the game at 15:01 of the second period with the assist going to junior forward Luke Moodie.

The Lakers led 6-1 nearing the end of the second period before Fredonia capitalized on a power play opportunity in the period’s final minute. After junior defenseman Tim Carr was whistled for a slashing penalty, Fredonia’s Brett Mueller backhanded a shot from the side of the net that went over Hare’s glove-side shoulder and into the back of the net. The Lakers took a four-goal lead into the second period intermission.

The Blue Devils attempted to make a comeback in the third period, cutting the Laker lead to three with 6:57 remaining in regulation on a power-play goal by Stephen Castriota.

However, the Lakers responded with two quick goals by Boots and senior defenseman Hank van Boxmeer to take a five-goal lead and eliminate the Blue Devils from the conference playoffs.

Friesen would not remain in the Blue Devil net for the entire 60 minutes just like the last time he faced Oswego State. Friesen did, however, last much longer in Saturday’s game, being pulled with 3:12 remaining in regulation in favor of Jeff Holloway. Friesen finished the game with 42 saves on 50 shots faced.

Hare finished the game with 17 saves on 20 shots to earn the win in net for the Lakers.

The Lakers will host the SUNYAC final against Plattsburgh on Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Campus Center Ice Arena. The Cardinals needed triple overtime to defeat Buffalo State.

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