ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The RIT Tigers and the Oswego Lakers first met on January 13, 1965, with the Lakers winning 11-0. Oswego came to dominate the series in the early days, winning the first 22 games between the two teams. Finally, on December 4, 1982, RIT broke through, finally defeating Oswego 4-2. Since then, RIT has carried the series, 35-25-4.
Tonight marked the 77th and final meeting between these two teams, and Oswego hailed back to the early days of the rivalry, defeating RIT 4-2.
“The game was kind of a funny one,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “Oswego was the better team, and won. But the game had a lull in it. It wasn’t the intense kind of game that it has been in the past.”
RIT got onto the scoreboard first, with a power play goal at 7:26. After moving the puck around the perimeter well, RIT’s Matt Smith fed the puck from the top of the right faceoff circle to Jesse Newman at the far post, and Newman redirected the puck past Oswego goaltender Ryan Scott.
At that point in the period, RIT held a 5-1 shots-on-goal advantage and was carrying play territorially. But Oswego kept plugging along and took advantage of an opportunity just over a minute later to tie the game. Francois Gagnon carried the puck across the RIT blue line and sent a weak wrist shot towards the RIT net that deflected off the skate of a Tiger defender and rolled across the goal line at 8:55.
That gave Oswego a jump emotionally, and the Lakers carried play from then on. Oswego took the lead at 15:20 when Matt Whitehead flipped home a rebound when RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond was down and out at the far side of the net.
“Our key players were poor, to say the least,” said Wilson. “Our second-line players were good, but our ‘A’ players were not.”
The Lakers weren’t done for the period, as they chipped in another at 19:17. Kyle McCutcheon carried the puck down the left side of the ice into the RIT zone. Although McCutcheon was marked by an RIT defender, he got off a hard wrist shot that Guimond tagged with his glove. However, the puck had enough momentum to blast through Guimond’s glove and bounce across the goal line to give Oswego a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period.
“Jocelyn fought the puck a little bit tonight,” said Wilson. “Maybe we have been spoiled by his good play so far this season, but he wasn’t at his best tonight.”
Early in the second period, Peter Magagna hit RIT’s Bobby Raymond from behind, earning a five-minute major penalty. RIT built momentum through the resulting power play, also taking advantage of a full two minutes of 5-on-3 advantage, to pour seven shots on the Oswego net. However, netminder Scott was up to the task and kept RIT from narrowing the deficit.
Following the end of the power play, the remainder of the period was just endless minutes of blah. Neither team really showed emotion or flash, only garnering a total of six shots between them in over 10 minutes of play. The second period ended with Oswego maintaining its 3-1 lead.
The uninspired play continued during the opening half of the third period, as Oswego seemed content to prevent RIT from gaining scoring opportunities. The Lakers didn’t notch their first shot on goal in the third period until the 10:05 mark while enjoying a 5-on-3 power play.
RIT got two straight power plays starting at the 12:10 mark, and finally put sustained pressure on the Oswego net. That paid dividends at 16:36 when Steve Farrer poked in a goal off a scramble in front of the Oswego net to narrow the Lakers’ lead to 3-2.
The goal lit a fire under the Tigers, the first real spark of the night, and RIT pulled its goaltender with 1:37 remaining to attempt to tie the game. However just eight seconds later Jocelyn Dubord won a footrace to a puck lying at the RIT blue line and swatted home an empty-net goal to seal the Laker victory.
RIT coach Wayne Wilson pulled the goaltender again with a minute remaining in the period, but neither team scored again.