No. 4/4 Oswego State men’s hockey moved into a tie for first place in the SUNYAC tonight with SUNY Geneseo after knocking of the Plattsburgh State Cardinals by a score of 5-2 in the Stafford Ice Arena to move to 6-0-1 in conference play and 8-1-1 overall. With the loss, Plattsburgh State falls to 5-7-0 overall and 3-6-0 in SUNYAC play.
Oswego State continued their offensive onslaught from their first game of the annual North Country trip last night in a 7-1 win over the SUNY Potsdam Bears with five more tonight, something Oswego State head coach Ed Gosek attributed to the Lakers consistency in the neutral and defensive zones.
“I thought we played a pretty strong game defensively,” Gosek said. “We were aggressive on the forecheck and created a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone.”
The scoring opened up at the 8:20 mark of the first period when Lakers forward Michael Gillespie took advantage of a Cardinals breakdown in their defensive zone and found room to fire a heavy slapshot past the blocker of Plattsburgh State goalie Jimmy Poreda to put the Lakers up 1-0.
Oswego State would take a commanding lead in the second period with three more goals to put a nail in the Cardinals.
At 7:43 of the second, Mitch Emerson was able to take advantage of a Mike Falanga roughing penalty and found a way to get the past through a crowd of players and Poreda which gave Oswego State a two goal cushion.
Later in the period, the chemistry of new linemates Joseph Molinaro and Mitch Herlihey showed itself in a big way, as each was able to score within a minute of each other. The Lakers went into the second intermission with a 4-0 lead, and by that point the final result was never in doubt.
“I give Oswego a lot of credit,” Plattsburgh State head coach Bob Emery. “They were prepared. They came out of the locker room with a lot of emotion, we came out with no emotion.”
The Cardinals made a bit of a comeback bid in the third period, outscoring the Lakers 2-1 in the final frame. Ultimately, the talent of the Lakers and the exceptional play of Cedric Hansen in the Oswego State net meant the came was always out of the reach of a struggling Plattsburgh State team.
“He was good, I can’t really fault him for either goal,” Gosek said about Hansen. “He tracked the puck well, he made the big saves when he had to and I’m pleased with the way he played.”
Tonight’s game was the final game before winter break for both of these teams and the break comes at a good time for both the Lakers and the Cardinals, though for very different reasons.
“Any time you can come up here and pick up four points, it’s a huge positive,” Gosek said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but to get to the break without a loss in SUNYAC play and for the guys to have a chance to heal up a little bit for two weeks, it’s coming at the right time.”
For the Cardinals, this break will offer a chance to reflect on what has been going wrong for the reigning SUNYAC champions.
“I don’t know what we do from here, but we’re in a pretty dark spot right now,” Emery said. “The break couldn’t come at a better time for us right now, there’s no doubt.”
The Cardinals have been struggling much more than they are used to, and tonight’s game left more questions than answers for Emery.
“I was disheartened with the effort tonight,” Emery said. “We have a problem with team chemistry and leadership. I’d be a genius if I could pinpoint the problem.”
With the loss, the Cardinals are now in a four way tie for fifth place in the SUNYAC with SUNY Cortland, SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Potsdam.
For Oswego State, they moved up in the standings next to SUNY Geneseo who did not play tonight.
Gosek expressed happiness with the way his team has played to this point, collecting 13 of 14 possible points so far.
“If you would have told me two weeks ago that we would play these last four games and come away with three wins and a tie, I would have been very pleased.” Gosek said.
The Lakers will take the next few weeks to rest and relax before returning to game action on Dec. 30 against Neumann College at the Middlebury Holiday Classic in Middlebury, Vermont.