ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In the opener of the biggest Division III series of the weekend, ninth-ranked Oswego rallied from a three-goal deficit against No. 1 RIT, leading to a 3-3 tie.
RIT got off to a roaring start against the Lakers, scoring three goals in the first 2:33 of the game. However, Oswego slowly stemmed the tide and climbed back into the game, putting the first blemish on RIT’s previously-perfect record.
“We’ll take the tie, because I thought that we were outplayed for most of the game,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson.
The Tigers came out quickly from the opening faceoff, scoring just 11 seconds into the game. Jerry Galway sent a weak shot in from the point that Oswego netminder Joe Loftberg saved, but Jonathan Day collected the rebound as it popped out to the circle and backhanded it in for the 1-0 lead.
RIT kept up the offensive pressure with another goal at 1:03. Day passed from behind the Oswego net to Derek Hahn in the slot, and Hahn beat Loftberg through the five-hole for the score.
Just 2:33 in, RIT had mounted a 3-0 lead. Peter Bournazakis scored the third Tiger tally with a wraparound on the power play.
That would be all the scoring for the Tigers, however, as Oswego mounted a measured comeback.
“After the first five minutes, we settled into a lull,” said Wilson.
Oswego then switched goaltenders, replacing Lofberg with Tyson Gajda, and was able stop the hemorrhaging and finally settle into the game.
The Lakers got on the board midway through the period, notching their first goal shorthanded at 11:49 as Joe Carrabs broke out of the Laker zone two-on-one. His shot from the right faceoff dot hit RIT netminder Mark Boope’s pads and trickled through his five-hole into the net.
Oswego pulled within a single goal 1:11 into the second period with a power-play goal. Rob Smith scored off a rebound left in front of the Tiger net, and Oswego was back into the game trailing only 3-2.
Defense took over for the rest of the second period as both teams vied for the all-important next goal. Gajda played strong in relief and gave his team a chance to climb back into the game.
Even defensive play continued through the majority of the third period, but Oswego started to open up the offensive pressure midway through the period to gain the tying goal.
“Our effort and energy level was what I was really disappointed with,” said Wilson.
The Oswego effort, on the other hand, paid off at the 14:00 mark with a controversial goal. RIT turned over the puck right along the Tiger blue line and Oswego broke into the RIT zone 2-on-1. The play appeared to be well offside, but the referee waved it off and play continued. Chris DiCarlo sent a rocket slapshot into the back of the Tiger net from the top of the slot to knot the game 3-3.
A wild overtime ensued as RIT put intense pressure on the Laker net, outshooting Oswego 9-2 during the extra stanza. However, Laker Brian St. John got a breakaway late in overtime, and RIT’s Ryan Fairbarn hauled him down from behind on the way to the RIT net. This gave Oswego a power play for the last 47 seconds, but the Great Lakers were unable to score.
For the game, Gajda made saves on all 42 shots that he faced, while RIT’s Boope stopped 41 of 44.