OSWEGO, N.Y. — After three straight games of lackluster, emotionless play against SUNYAC opponents, RIT started with fire against Oswego tonight and carried the intensity throughout the game. The Tigers scored just 32 seconds in to the first period, and eventually hung on to win 5-3 to earn a split of the weekend pair of games against Oswego.
“We made some things easy for them last night,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “We didn’t want to do that tonight. Romney Fieldhouse is a little wider rink, and we have some guys who can skate that showed up tonight.”
The emotional intensity usually exhibited in this long time rivalry finally surfaced in the second period. The two teams battled for each loose puck, in the corners, and throughout every aspect of the game.
Oswego tied the game just 1:05 in to the period, just moments after they had an apparent goal waved off by the referee. Jocelyn Dubord skated across the slot, carrying the puck, until Eliopoulos committed, before wristing the puck in to the exposed part of the net for the goal to tie the game 1-1.
The battles continued as the period wound on. RIT worked to gain the better scoring chances, while Oswego had several odd man rushes. Late in the period, the RIT special teams tallied two goals just one minute apart to take a 4-2 lead.
The first goal was on the power play and scored by Tristan Fairbarn at 13:13, who swatted in a rebound off a shot by Brandon Mulholland.
The second goal exactly one minute later was scored by Simon Lambert. Lambert carried the puck across the Oswego blue line leading a 2-on-1 breakaway. The lone Lakers defenseman carried Lambert past the endline without getting a shot off. But Lambert turned and was able to slide a wrap around just past the post in to the net for a shorthanded goal at 14:13 to give RIT a 4-2 lead.
Of course, the Oswego power play unit wasn’t going to be showed up in its own barn, and answered with a goal of their own at 17:07. Dubord scored his second goal of the period off a scramble in front of the net. The RIT bench screamed that Oswego was offsides at the beginning of the play, but the referee signaled that the goal be put on the board and the score became 4-3 RIT.
To open the third period, Oswego brought everything it had offensively against RIT trying to tie the game. The Lakers pressured at every opportunity, pinching defensemen and looking for the long bomb pass. RIT worked hard to stave off the pressure.
In the middle of the period, Oswego had to play strong defense while killing off a 1:01 5-on-3 advantage for RIT. Leonhardt made three great saves during this span to keep Oswego in the game.
However, the RIT special teams scored an insurance goal at 11:09 to expand the Tigers lead to 5-3. Tucciarone carried the puck in on a 2-on-1 breakaway, took the shot, and beat Leonhardt between his pad and blocker for the power play goal.
Oswego pulled its goaltender for the last forty-one seconds of the game, but were unable to score.
From the opening faceoff of the first period, RIT played with a fire that they didn’t have at any time during last night’s contest against the same Oswego team. That drive paid dividends early and carried them through the period.
“This was a mental test, whether we were going to get down on ourselves, and I think we answered part of that tonight,” said Wilson.
Right off the faceoff to start the game, the referee tagged Oswego for an interference penalty. RIT immediately took advantage of the opportunity. After breaking out the Tigers zone, Michael Tucciarone carried the puck across the Lakers blueline and let rip a slapshot on net. Goaltender Brett Leonhardt made the save off his large pads, but the rebound bounced in to the slot. Roberto Orofiamma won the race to the puck, and swatted the puck in to the back of the net for the power play goal. RIT took the lead 1-0 just :32 seconds in to the contest.
Oswego battled back quickly from that initial demoralizing goal. RIT was whistled for the next two penalties, and the Lakers converted on their second opportunity. They set up in the Tigers zone, and Don Patrick wound a slapshot from the point through a crowd. Tigers goaltender George Eliopoulos never saw the puck, but it hit him and squirted towards the far side of the net where Andy Rozak lifted it high in to the top of the net. The power play goal for Oswego at 6:16 tied the game 1-1.
Two more penalties mid-period ended up with the teams skating 4-on-4, with the faceoff deep in the Oswego zone to the right of Leonhardt. Right off the faceoff, Tucciarone for RIT corralled the loose puck and steered it around Leonhardt to reestablish RIT’s lead 2-1 at 10:58.
The two teams continued to battle through the remainder of the period, with Oswego failing to convert on several odd-man rushes. The Lakers outshot RIT 14-8 in the period, but the Tigers continued to hold the 2-1 lead as time ran out.