ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A one-goal Oswego lead late in the third period was cemented with two empty-net goals, and the Great Lakers outworked RIT to win 5-2
“I thought for two periods, they really took it to us,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “Losing the little battles cost us two goals. There wasn’t any trickery in this game, just two good teams going at it.”
Oswego scored a pair of goals, separated by less than a minute, early in the second period to gain control of the game. RIT had carried play early in the period, but the Great Lakers took advantage of two defensive mistakes to take the lead.
At the 3:44 mark of the second period, Mike Lukajic knocked an RIT defender off the puck behind the Tiger net. Patrick slid the puck out to Don Patrick, waiting at the top of the faceoff circle. Patrick rifled the puck past RIT netminder Tyler Euverman for the goal.
This gave the Great Lakers a huge jump. Just 45 seconds later, Oswego caught RIT backing up in its own zone as John Hirliman carried the puck across the Tiger blueline. Hirliman had a clear lane and wristed the puck past Euverman for the goal, giving Oswego a 2-0 lead.
“It was a game where they worked harder, and we didn’t compete as hard,” said Wilson. “I don’t know if we can play any harder than we did in the third period. But the first two [periods] we were definitely outworked.”
RIT came out buzzing in the third period, carrying play deep into the Oswego zone. The pressure paid off right away in the period for the Tigers with a goal to narrow the margin. Jason Chafe carried the puck down the right wing and passed to Jared Conlon pacing on his left. Conlon beat Oswego goaltender Tyson Gajda low left side for the RIT goal 2:24 into the period.
Oswego answered RIT back on the power play to rebuild its two goal lead. Patrick blasted a slapshot from the top of the slot that Lukajic deflected through the legs of Euverman for the goal at 6:17.
For the first time tonight, RIT was able to respond right away to the Oswego score. Less than 40 seconds later, RIT scored a power-play goal of its own to cut the Great Laker lead to 3-2. Sam Hill swatted in a rebound, off a shot by Michael Tucciarone, at 6:55 for the goal.
The score remained 3-2 until late in the third period, when Oswego tallied two empty-net goals to finish the scoring
The first period was marked with fast paced, end-to-end play. Both teams came out skating hard and fast generating chances. Oswego came the closest to scoring during the period, hitting two crossbars that deflected wide of the net.
The Great Lakers were able to penetrate the RIT defense, launching seven of their eight first period shots from inside the pair of faceoff dots. The best chance to score came at the 12:55 mark, when Oswego had Euverman down and out, and the puck was fluttering across the crease about a foot off the ice. However, the Great Lakers couldn’t get a stick on the puck as it flew wide of the net.
The same two teams square off Saturday night, this time at Oswego’s Romney Fieldhouse.
“Sometimes when you are in front of your own crowd, sometimes you do things you wouldn’t normally do,” said Oswego coach George Roll. “You have to control your emotions.”