Of the teams with strong goaltenders, Oswego may be in the best position of all. The Lakers have the best tandem in net, each of whom would probably start for any other team. Instead, they will most likely get to share the starting role, as they did last year.
Senior Joe Lofberg comes off a year with a 2.59 GAA and a .917 save percentage. He was also 5-1 in league play. Junior Tyson Gajda had almost identical numbers — 2.50 GAA and .908 save percentage. So equal were they in conference play, they both sported a .918 save percentage.
It doesn’t matter who coach George Roll throws into the frying pan, he can relax knowing the job will get done.
Loaded Up Front
Outside of Plattsburgh, the Great Lakers may have the most scoring power. Oswego hardly lost anyone — Nate Elliot, a defenseman who was fourth in scoring being the top impact player — yet has stocked up even more. Don Patrick transferred in from Ferris State while freshmen Scott Irwin, Jocelyn Dubord, and Mike Johnson are hoping to be major contributors.
However, the returning players alone are quite capable of carrying the load. The top three scorers return — SUNYAC Co-Rookie of the Year Andy Rozak, Rob Smith, and Mike Lukajic. Meanwhile senior captain John Hirliman and sophomore Brady Crooks return after double-digit goal seasons. Matt Vashaw should continue to set up many goals.
For the fans’ sake, they will be hoping that when Oswego faces Plattsburgh, the two schools decide to forego a defensive style.
There will be changes on defense as four players will need to be replaced. Anchoring that unit will be junior Joe Carrabs, one of the league’s top defensemen. Mark Strzoda’s physical presence returns for a second year. Kevin Tracey and Mike Bartell will need to step up their games, while newcomers Justin Perron, Tony DuFour, and Brian Gent will need to shine early.
A single tally is what separated Oswego from the SUNYAC championship last year. After ties in the first two games of the final round, Oswego lost the deciding game, 2-1. You can’t get any closer than that. And with a goalie tandem that may prove better than any netminder Plattsburgh has, this may finally be Oswego’s year.
A tough schedule greets the Great Lakers outside of SUNYAC play with a pair of games against both RIT and Elmira. However, Oswego would gladly trade any wins in those games for finally toppling Plattsburgh.