OSWEGO, N.Y. — Last week, Oswego failed in the game for first place. This week, Oswego succeeded in the game for second place, as they dominated Fredonia in a 4-0 victory. Ryan Scott made 31 saves for the shutout. And, in a twist of fate, Oswego is right back in the hunt for first place as Geneseo lost to Plattsburgh, putting Oswego and Geneseo back in a tie for the top spot.
The Lakers immediately jumped out of the gate, pressuring the Fredonia net.
“We talked all week about getting traffic in front of the goalie,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “We didn’t feel like we did a good job last week against [Geneseo goalie Brett] Walker. He was allowed to see the shots. We made a concerted effort of keeping it simple, getting the puck to the net, crashing the net hard. We had good pressure in the zone. We beat them to a lot of loose pucks.”
That was most evident on Oswego’s second goal late in the opening period. With a quick transition at center ice, Oswego went in on a three-on-two. Don Patrick carried the puck down the left side. When the defenders picked up the other players allowing Patrick to shoot, he did just that. Rick Cazares made the save, but the rebound came straight up the middle. Ryan Woodward came crashing in and knocked it home.
The first goal was more the case of finding the open space during a power play. Jean-Simon Richard had the puck on the left side with time to look around. He saw Tony DiNunzio open on the opposite side camping out at the doorstep. DiNunzio easily redirected the pass into the unguarded portion of the net.
The back breaker came at 6:30 of the second period with Fredonia on the power play. Fredonia lost the puck behind their own net, and Paul Perrier setup Gary Bowman in the slot. Bowman perfectly placed the puck over Cazares’ left shoulder for a shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead.
Midway through the second period, a scary moment occurred. Fredonia’s leading scorer, Matt Zeman, and Oswego’s Jocelyn Dubord collided just inside Fredonia’s blueline. Both players went down. Dubord got up after a few seconds, but Zeman stayed down holding his left leg.
After being tended to by the trainer, Zeman finally made it up, hobbling back to the bench. Ironically, it was Zeman that received a penalty on the play for kneeing. Unable to make it to the box, he stayed on the bench while another player served the penalty.
Zeman did try to play two shifts, including a power play stint, but for the third period, he was in street clothes with a large ice pack on his leg just above the knee in what appeared to be a charley horse. He’s questionable for tomorrow’s game, but Fredonia will be holding their breaths to see if he is ready for the playoffs.
Oswego finished out the game with Bowman’s second of the night with 1:20 left. He flicked a one-timer perfectly into the far upper corner.
Though Scott made 31 saves, he was hardly tested. “We didn’t get a lot of grade A’s,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “It was our inability to get good pressure on Oswego.”
Fredonia drops to third place, out of a bye spot, with a record of 8-3-2 (14-4-4 overall). However, anything can still happen in the last night of play. Fredonia plays at Cortland and as Meredith puts it, “I think second place is still up for grabs.” It is, so the Blue Devils should still be motivated.
Meanwhile, Oswego now has a shot at first place as they move to 10-3-0 (17-4-3 overall). Granted, they need help as Geneseo needs to lose to Potsdam. However, Oswego first needs to take care of their own business against Buffalo State.
“Let’s not worry about anyone else,” Gosek said. “Let’s concentrate on what we can control once again. Tonight was a playoff game. Last Saturday night was a playoff game. That’s the way we’ve approached it. There are no excuses at this point.”