OSWEGO, N.Y. — Saturday night, the Oswego Great Lakers overwhelmed the Potsdam State Bears in the third period, scoring four unanswered goals to turn a close game into a dominating 5-1 victory at the Great Romney Field House.
The win leapfrogs Oswego past Potsdam for second place in the SUNYAC with just two games remaining in the regular season.
The first period was scoreless, but not without a few chances from both teams as Potsdam’s Ryan Venturelli and Oswego’s Tyson Gajda were equal to the task in nets. And when they weren’t, the post came to their rescue, once for each team.
Potsdam broke the ice at 6:02 of the second period on a bang-bang play. The Bears’ forechecking kept the puck in Oswego’s zone, where Jim Quilty fired a hard slapshot from the right point. Gajda made a spectacular save, but left a fat rebound and himself out of position. Kevin Shaver one-timed the rebound just as quickly back at Gajda, who was unable to reach it. Sean Darke also got an assist.
Oswego came right back 2:04 later with a nice goal of its own. Joe Carrabs took a shot from in close that Venturelli made the save on. John Sullivan fired the rebound back, but Venturelli made an even better save. The rebound again came out, and this time Joe Pecoraro swept it around the fallen Venturelli and into the net.
Then came the third period. From the get-go, Oswego had a step on Potsdam. Whether it was Potsdam getting tired from the bus trip and having played just three days earlier, Oswego realizing their season was on the line, or a combination of the two, it was evident that Oswego was more intent.
It only took 1:42 for Oswego to start making their statement on the power play. Pecoraro was left alone behind the net, and that allowed him time to find Matt Vashaw, also unmarked in front of the net. He made a quick pass, and Vashaw made an equally quick one-time shot that left Venturelli helpless.
A few minutes later, Oswego scored again. Derek Kern controlled the faceoff, which went back to Steve Cavallaro at the right point. He passed it across to the left side for Nate Elliott who blasted a low shot to the far side of the net. At this point, Potsdam called a time out to try to gather themselves together.
It didn’t work as Oswego could not be slowed down. The game was sealed when Potsdam’s Chris Lee made a horrible blunder, trying to clear the puck up the middle. Elliott gloved the puck at the blue line, controlled it, and then blasted a slapshot over the glove of Venturelli.
With 3:50 left, and Potsdam up by two men, Venturelli was pulled for a 6-on-3 advantage, hoping for a repeat of last year’s miracle in the playoffs. It was not to be this time, and Oswego forced the Bears to put Venturelli back in — on the fly — before the penalties were up.
The final goal was scored late in the game when Potsdam attempted to pull Venturelli again. Oswego got control of the puck, and Venturelli, already near the bench, was about to go back in. However, he saw a teammate had already jumped on the ice. Sean Darke was also going to leave to allow Venturelli to return to the net, and the Keystone Cops routine left the net open for Craig Bland to put it away.
For the evening, Oswego outshot Potsdam, 43-40.
Oswego improved its conference record to 9-3-0, 16-6-1 overall, and stays home to play Plattsburgh. Potsdam falls to 7-2-3 in the SUNYAC and 14-5-3 overall. They travel to Cortland for their next game.