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College Hockey:
Toussaint’s Natural Keys Plattsburgh Win

Opportunistic Cardinals Hold Off Oswego

— Friday night, Plattsburgh took advantage of Oswego penalties and miscues to down the Lakers, 6-4, in the conference opener for both.

Brian Toussaint led scoring for the defending national champs, getting a natural hat trick in the first period. The Cardinals, who scored on fewer than a fourth of their power plays last season, went 4-for-8 on the man advantage.

“We knew coming into tonight’s game we had to stay out of the penalty box, and we didn’t do it,” said Oswego coach George Roll. “There’s a time to take a penalty, in a situation where a goal is going to be scored or not scored … but we just took some bad penalties, and against a team like that, you just can’t do it.”

The Lakers drew first blood, on a power-play goal just three minutes into the game, as Matt Vashaw one-timed a Mark Strodza pass behind Cardinal goalie Niklas Sundberg.

As has become the custom at Oswego against Plattsburgh, fans lofted hundreds of bagels — “bird food” — onto the ice after the goal, delaying play for more than 10 minutes while the rink crew cleared the ice, and perhaps sapping what momentum the Lakers might have gained.

The bagel display also drew a warning from referee Jeff Fulton that any other objects thrown on the ice would result in an Oswego bench minor. Late in the game, Fulton would get to fulfill his promise.

Toussaint then reeled off his three goals. On the power play at 5:11, Toussaint stuffed the rebound of a Brendon Hodge slapper from the point past Oswego goalie Tyson Gajda.

The senior forward notched a second power-play goal at the 10:40 mark, as another Hodge shot went wide to the near side, and took an odd bounce off the back boards onto the stick of Toussaint.

Toussaint’s third tally, even strength, came off a weak clearing pass along the boards that was intercepted and flipped into the slot by Plattsburgh’s Paul Dowe. Toussaint lifted it past Gajda for the hat trick.

Cardinal freshman Adam Richards scored his first collegiate goal on the power playat 14:29 of the second, ripping a puck lying in the high slot past Gajda, for the period’s only score.

Oswego, which dominated territorially through the first five minutes of the third period, had a chance to narrow the score to 4-2, when on a breakaway Laker Andy Rozak was caught from behind by Mark Coletta and knocked into Sundberg. Mike Lukajic wristed the resulting penalty shot wide when Sundberg came out to the hash marks to cut down the angle.

Plattsburgh got the game-winner with just under eight minutes left. After a rash of penalties, the teams skated 3-on-3. Jeff Marshall and Jason Kilcan went 2-on-1 on a back-skating Gary Bowman. Marshall’s shot flipped off the end of Gajda’s glove to give the Cardinals a 5-1 lead.

Brian St. John closed the gap to 5-2 on a shorthanded goal with four-and-a-half minutes left. St. John poked the puck free from two Cardinals at the Plattsburgh blue line and wristed a shot high over Sundberg from the left half-boards.

Oswego, still skating down a man, had to defend a 5-on-3 when the Lakers received a bench minor after several more bagels were tossed onto the ice after St. John’s goal. The Lakers killed off the first penalty, but Mark Colletta knocked in another funny bounce off the boards to open it to 6-2.

The Lakers continued to press, and tallied twice late in the game. Andy Rozak knocked in his first career goal, stuffing a fluttering rebound past Sundberg at 18:17. Joe Carrabs banged a cannon from the point past the Cardinal goalie with 14 seconds left for the game’s final score.

“I thought we played pretty well in the third. We dominated territorially … but their kid [Sundberg] came up with some big ones,” said Roll, whose Lakers out shot Plattsburgh 10-6 in the third period.

“It was a frustrating win for us, and I never thought I’d say that,” said Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery, outside a locker room that had the stone-cold silence characteristic of a losing team. “You’ve got to have 60 minutes, and we’re not in game shape.

“I give Oswego a lot of credit, they kept working and working hard.”

Plattsburgh (1-0-0) visits Cortland (4-0-0) Saturday, while Oswego (0-1-0) hosts Potsdam (1-2-0).

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