OSWEGO, N.Y. — The Oswego State Lakers provided a grand farewell to the Golden Romney Field House with a 9-3 blowout over Potsdam. Everything seemed to work to perfection for Oswego, which exploded for five goals in the second period, went three for eight on the power play, and scored two shorthanded goals.
There were festivities all day for the final regular-season game at the Romney. Tours of the new Campus Center were provided at midday. Afterwards, the alumni hockey game took place. Then, both schools hosted alumni get-togethers at local pubs.
Finally, it was time for the game, and Oswego came out wearing throwback jerseys commemorating the occasion. All the jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.
After the emotionally and physically draining victory over Plattsburgh the night before, many wondered if the Lakers would come out flat.
“It was tough,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “Emotionally we were spent, and we could see it, so we had to be creative to come up with ways to motivate them. I was pleased with our effort. Our unselfishness. Our discipline was a lot better; we didn’t take a lot of foolish penalties. I know they know how much it meant for the alumni who were back. They certainly didn’t want to disappoint the guys.”
“We certainly ran into a brick wall,” Potsdam coach Glenn Thomaris said. “They had all the incentive in the world to put on a good show, and they certainly did.”
The show got off to a quick start four-and-a-half minutes in when Ryan Koresky’s shot from the middle of the blueline sailed high through a screen beating Vince Cuccaro on the power play.
Potsdam tied it up two minutes later on their own power play. Ryan McCarthy received a pass from the back of the net from T.J. Sakaluk, and quickly one-timed it past Ryan Scott.
However, that would be it for Potsdam as Oswego took over the game from there.
Another power-play goal, just 21 seconds after Potsdam tied it up, gave Oswego the lead back. Good puck control and quick passing enabled Ryan Ellis to be left alone at the right faceoff circle, giving him the perfect opportunity to beat Cuccaro.
“Something we didn’t want to do was get into the penalty box right away whether they scored a goal or not, it didn’t matter,” Thomaris said. “They kept the puck in our end the whole first ten minutes of the period because of our penalties and our sloppy play. That gave them all kinds of momentum to play a good solid game and put us back on our heels. We paid a heavy price.”
The price got worse past the halfway point of the first period when a poor line change gave Oswego a two-on-one. A nifty back pass and a great flip over the goaltender by Trevor Gilligan, and Oswego had a 3-1 lead after one.
In the first period, Oswego outshot Potsdam, 22-10. It got worse in the second when Oswego had an 18-4 shots advantage and put on a scoring clinic.
“We’ve been working hard to score goals, so it was nice to have some come naturally,” Gosek said. “I thought we had all four lines going tonight. I thought Darrell Levy created a lot of excitement. His speed created a lot of opportunities. And Rick Varone, another guy trying to earn a spot consistently in the lineup, and he certainly did that this weekend. Once we got rolling, I was pleased with all the lines creating offense.”
Francois Gagnon got the roll started with a shot from the right point that again went high and through a crowd. Varone made it 5-1 with a breakaway where he simply outskated the last defender. When he got to the goal going full steam, he cut from his right to the left, across the crease, and with Cuccaro going down, backhanded it over the sprawled goaltender.
After Gebara tried to make it close for Potsdam with a close range shot that somehow found its way in, Oswego put the nail in the coffin with a shorthanded breakaway goal.
It was Varone again who stole the puck at his own blueline and just took off. He made the identical move on Cuccaro, who made the identical reaction, which meant another easy goal for Varone.
At this point, Potsdam replaced Cuccaro with Rob Barnhardt, but it didn’t make much of a difference. Brendan McLaughlin scored a power-play goal when Barnhardt didn’t know where the puck was, and it deflected off his leg pads into the net.
Ryan Ellis closed out the scoring in the second period when he was left untouched after a faceoff and simply skated it to the net for an open shot.
The teams traded goals in the last few minutes of the game when C.J. Thompson was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind. Potsdam pulled the goalie for a six-on-four advantage. It took a while, but Corey McAllister finally gave the Bears the power-play goal.
However, with Barnhardt back in net, Oswego got it back, scoring a shorthander when Ryan Woodward stole the puck in front and put it over the outstretched leg of Barnhardt.
Scott made 22 saves and played a strong game.
“That’s the best he’s played back-to-back games in a while,” Gosek said. In fact, it was the first conference four-point weekend for Oswego since November.
As the final minute wound down, the crowd chanted, “Thank you, Romney!”
Oswego has a virtual lock on first place extending their league record to 9-2-1 while opening up a three point lead over Geneseo, who they play next on Friday night.
Potsdam fell back into sixth place, dropping to 6-5-1, trailing Buffalo State and Plattsburgh by a point.