ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Oswego finished its opportunities in the first period, and RIT did not. And that was the difference in the game between these two long-time rivals. The Lakers built a 3-0 lead in the first period, and then maintained that advantage on the scoreboard throughout the remainder of the game for a 5-2 win.
Each goaltender made twelve saves in the first period. Fortunately for Oswego, they outshot RIT 15-12 in the period and ended it with a 3-0 lead.
The Lakers opened the scoring 8:17 in to the period when they were able to outwork RIT down low in the Tigers zone. Andy Rozak held the puck behind the RIT net, while Oswego established two players near the crease. Rozak threw the puck out front and John Duco poked it past RIT netminder George Eliopoulos for the goal.
Mid period, RIT was able establish sustained pressure against the Lakers for several minutes. However, Oswego goaltender Ryan Scott was up to the challenge and kept RIT off the board.
Two weak penalty calls on RIT gave Oswego a 5-on-3 power play fourteen minutes in to the period. Oswego converted on the opportunity to take a two goal lead when Tony DiNunzio swatted in a second rebound at 15:08.
The Lakers weren’t done scoring for the period quite yet. They had RIT on the ropes and poured on the pressure. At 18:21, Don Patrick and Ryan Woodward streaked in to the Tigers zone on a 2-on-1 breakaway. The lone RIT defenseman that was back played the pass, but Patrick took the shot himself and wristed over Eliopoulos’ blocker for the goal.
Oswego skated off the ice for the first intermission with a commanding 3-0 lead, while RIT continued to search for an answer to its slump.
The Lakers extended their lead midway through the second period with a power play goal. After setting up in the zone, Sean Kotary sent a shot from the top of the slot on net. Eliopoulos made the save, but J.S. Richard was unmarked at the side of the crease and swatted home the rebound for the goal at 10:52.
For the first two periods of the game, Oswego only held a slight territorial advantage over RIT. But what the Lakers did much better was finish their opportunities.
RIT finally got on the board late in the second period, while skating on a four-on-three power play. Darren Doherty took a wrist shot from the top of the slot that Tristan Fairbarn redirected through Scott’s five-hole for RIT’s first goal at 14:50.
In the opening ten minutes of the third period, Oswego did a good job of preventing RIT from getting many scoring chances. But penalty trouble allowed RIT to score its second power play goal of the game on almost a mirror play of the Tigers first goal.
What set up the power play for RIT was a questionable goaltender interference call against Oswego. Eliopoulos skated out to the top of the faceoff circle to clear a rolling puck. DiNunzio was also rushing towards the puck, and partially collided with Eliopoulos after the goaltender played the puck. The referee called the penalty on DiNunzio, and RIT converted on the ensuing power play. Tony Bifulco took a slapshot from the point that Fairbarn deflected past Scott for his second goal of the game at 11:51.
However, the Tigers momentum was shortlived when DiNunzio tallied at 13:05 on a sweet backhand poke over the shoulder of Eliopoulos. This rebuilt the Oswego lead to 5-2.