Oswego Makes First Big Statement
Oswego accomplished two tasks early in the 2009-10 season. The Lakers broke a 10 game winless streak against their arch nemesis and they became the team to beat in the SUNYAC. And they did it on the road.
They accomplished these tasks be defeating Plattsburgh, 5-2, after blowing a 2-0 lead.
“We’re happy,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “What we’re happiest about is that there is no complacency. We know we can get better. We know we can correct [our mistakes].”
Eric Selleck and Jon Whitelaw scored power-play goals within 1:18 late in the first period for the first intermission lead.
After an even first, the second period was all Plattsburgh, as they outshot the Lakers, 18-3. Two of them went in to tie the game up. First it was Kyle Kudroch on the power play early in the period followed by a late even-strength goal by Vick Schlueter.
“We had some rookie mistakes,” Gosek said. “The guys weren’t ready to be challenged with the kind of speed that Plattsburgh has.”
However, the Lakers struck back with a tick left on the clock.
“We got lucky to get one back late in the second,” Gosek said.
“We were outshooting them in the second period,” Emery told the Press-Republican. “The goal took some of the wind out of our sails.”
Chris Laganiere did the honors.
With 3:06 left in the third, Whitelaw scored his second of the night for the insurance tally with a 2-on-1 counterattack. With 2:08 left, Selleck got his second to clinch the game with an empty netter.
“Many times, we’ve gone up there and played very well, but their goaltender was better than ours,” Gosek said. “This time, our goalie was better than theirs.”
With Paul Beckwith, the early season choice, out with the flu, Kyle Gunn-Taylor got the call for the second night in a row. He made 32 saves for the win.
The Lakers are now 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the conference, alone at the top. What’s enabling Oswego to get out to a strong start?
“The biggest thing is with all the guys we have, all the guys have been able to play,” Gosek said. “We’ve been rotating them around, and no one has stood out. Therefore, we keep rotating them through the lineup. They are more worried about playing than who we’re playing, and that takes some of the pressure off worrying about whether they are going to get up for a certain team or have a letdown.”
Speaking of letdowns, their next game is a proverbial trap game as they travel to Cortland. The Red Dragons may be 2-3 overall while only winning one league game, but they have exploded offensively twice (against Lebanon Valley and Fredonia), have scored an average of 4.40 goals a game, and two of those three losses have been by one goal (Buffalo State and Potsdam), including one in overtime.
“We certainly respect Cortland,” Gosek said. “They play hard. They’re well coached. Our guys know that, too. But, the mind set is sometimes, ‘Oh, we’re playing Cortland.’ It takes focus. You can’t have any letdowns in our league anymore. The scores this year are proving that. What used to be the weakest team in the league are now knocking off teams every week. It’s a dogfight every night.”
Meanwhile, Plattsburgh suffered their first loss of the season as they fell to 3-1 with all conference games played so far. The Cardinals hope to turn it around at Morrisville in their only contest of the weekend, which, as Gosek explained, is no longer a gimme game.
“This is the first adversity we’ve faced in quite a while,” Emery said. “Now, we’ll see where we go from here.”
SUNYAC Short Shots
Sean O’Malley scored 27 seconds into overtime to give Brockport a 4-3 victory over Morrisville … The next night Morrisville beat Geneseo, 4-3, in overtime on a Matt Salmon goal, his second of the night … The other overtime game over the weekend was also a 4-3 score when Potsdam defeated Cortland on a goal that bounced off the defender’s chest after deflecting off the goaltender’s stick.
Plattsburgh scored twice in the first 1:48 of the second period to break open the game en route to a 5-1 win over Cortland … Justin Fox scored twice and Oswego scored their last two goals 33 seconds apart in an 8-1 route at Potsdam … The winning goal for Fredonia’s 4-2 victory over Buffalo State was a shorthander by Steve Rizer.
Two other games ended in a 4-3 score … Geneseo defeated Hobart on two goals by Dan Brown … Fredonia fell to Elmira after tying the game at three with two consecutive third period shorthanded goals.
Game of the Week
More like the round robin of the week. The Buffalo area teams visit the Rochester area teams, and the set up could not be any closer. All four teams have played three conference games with identical 1-2 records in a six-way tie for fourth place. Still early in the season, but these are the type of weekends that teams look back on as either lost opportunities or moments that turned their season around.
It starts with Buffalo State playing at Brockport and Fredonia visiting Geneseo on Friday the 13th. Then the road teams will head in opposite directions on I-390 to switch opponents.
“We expect SUNYAC hockey,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said. “Brockport has Sheridan, a good, big goaltender in the pipes. Geneseo has been playing some good teams. They both went up to the North Country and had some pretty good contests against some good teams up there. There’s a lot of parity in our league. We can’t take anybody lightly. It’s going to be tough in our first conference road trip.”
Tough and exciting with some much needed points on the line.
On The Periphery
It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. A conspiracy.
First Philadelphia and now Buffalo.
Last week I mentioned how they ran out of pretzels while touring Philly. This past weekend I walked up to the concession stand at Buffalo State during the first intermission and watched the person in front of me leave with a pretzel. I reached the cashier.
“Sorry sir, we’re all out.”
I’m surprised I didn’t need a paper bag.
This week, I will be in Brockport, home of the Best Pretzel in SUNYAC. If they, too, run out, then I will become very paranoid.
I may even start thinking a certain rival attempting to usurp the crown of USCHO food critic is weaving a conspiratorial web.