PathFinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic
It’s the fifth year for this tournament which tries to get one team from New York State, another team from New England, and a team from out West. Now, if you look at this year’s field, you may think there are two teams from New York.
Well, technically that’s true. But since Hamilton is in the NESCAC, we’ll count that as a New England team. If Air Force can belong to Atlantic Hockey, TCU can join the Big East, the Big Ten can consist of 11 (soon to be 12) teams, and the Big 12 will soon consist of 10 teams, why not consider Hamilton as a New England team? Geography and math and higher learning obviously don’t go together…
Hobart will be the NYS selection and Wis.-Stevens Point is the Western representative. Hobart, of course, just ended Oswego’s undefeated season.
“They are good teams,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “Hobart, obviously, is a quality team. Hamilton, Norm [Bazin} does a great job with them. They're always prepared. And Stevens Point is consistently always one of the top teams in the country."
Oswego will face Hamilton at 7 p.m. on Thursday with the other two teams squaring off at 4 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be played on New Year's Eve Day at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively.
I expect to see Oswego make it to the championship game. Most Oswego fans will probably want to see Hobart on Friday to try to exact some revenge on the Statesmen. In any case, the fans will get to see an outstanding tournament.
"For the fans, it's a fun tournament," Gosek said. "It's nice for people to see different styles, opponents we normally don't face. We're fortunate to have PathFinder Bank to sponsor the tournament as well as the EconoLodge and Best Western hotels. In these economic times, it's nice our sponsors continue to step up to support one of the top tournaments in the country. It's good for Division III hockey."
Plattsburgh will be hosting their annual holiday tournament on the last day of the old year (1 and 4 p.m.) and the first day of the new year (4 and 7 p.m.). The Cardinals will face Curry College in the semifinals while Neumann and New England College face each other in the early game.
"It's a tough field," Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. "When we try to get teams, we try to get teams who we think will better our schedule. If you look at Curry, they've had a winning record for a lot of years. Neumann has had a great program in recent years. They won the national championship two years ago. New England College has in the past given us a lot of tough times. Our goal is to improve our strength of schedule. That's what got us into the [NCAA] tournament last year.”
Interestingly, Curry has just picked up a slew of transfers for the second semester, including three from Plattsburgh — Mike Kavanaugh (D), Brad Devereaux (D), and Ian DeLong (F). It could make this match up much more intriguing than many would have thought at the start of the season.
Plattsburgh will be coming into this game with a lot more confidence than at the start of the season. The Cardinals have won their last five games, after going 2-4 in their first six.
“I liked the way we played all year,” Emery said. “We just had trouble keeping the puck out of our net. That’s what we’ve been emphasizing lately.”
They let up 4.5 goals per game in those first six, never allowing less than three in a game. In the previous five games, it dropped to 2.0, letting up two or less goals in four of the games.
I like the trend to continue and for Plattsburgh to make it to the championship game in their own tournament.
Morrisville Travels To A Tournament
The only other SUNYAC team in action this New Year’s weekend is Morrisville. They are entered in the St. Michael’s Tournament, using a pre-determined schedule. The Mustangs face Castleton on New Year’s and then the host team on Sunday.
I see Morrisville in a split, dropping the first game and coming back to take the second.