OSWEGO, N.Y. — Oswego won the first Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic with a three-goal third period for a 4-1 victory over Elmira at the new Campus Center Ice Arena. The second ranked Lakers improved their undefeated record to 13-0-3.
The winning goal was scored 4:22 into the third period on a perfectly placed shot by Ryan Ellis. He skated down the right side and fired a wrister into the far upper corner over the shoulder of Casey Tuttle who started to anticipate a low shot.
“[Rich] Zalewski looked up and saw me and sent it three-quarters the length of the ice,” Ellis said of the pass to him that led to the goal. “It looked to me the goalie was favoring his glove side, so my guess was to go the blocker side. I was lucky it went in.”
“There wasn’t much room,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said of the Ellis shot. “The kid was out and he had the angle. That’s what you expect from him.”
Elmira came out strong in the third period, applying heavy pressure on the Oswego net in the first few minutes. Darcy Pettie had two successive point blank shots in the first minute stopped by Scott. Scott continued to come up with strong saves as Elmira continued to pound the net.
“Not to take anything away from Oswego’s great effort, I thought five-on-five our guys controlled play the last forty minutes of the game,” Elmira coach Tim Ceglarski said.
“They certainly outplayed us in the first part of the third period,” Gosek said. “[Ryan] Scott kept us in it.”
After taking the lead, Oswego went into safe mode and kept three players back no matter what zone they were in.
“Let’s make them earn it,” Gosek said of going into a defensive shell. “Let’s not give them the easy rushes. Unlike teams in the past, our guys are willing to buy into it.”
Neil Musselwhite got the clinching goal on a perfectly executed three-on-one. Musselwhite brought the puck down the left side, passed it across to Garren Reisweber who quickly passed it back to Musselwhite. By then Tuttle was out of position, and Musselwhite easily shot it into the unguarded net.
“We made two neutral-zone bad plays that cost us the game,” Ceglarski said.
Matt Whitehead added an empty-netter to finish the game off.
Oswego came out strong in the first period, and had the upper hand as well as the first goal of the game. It was scored on one of those plays that drives goaltenders nuts. Ryan Woodward, from behind the net, banked it off the back of the legs of Tuttle. Tuttle could only look behind him in agony as he saw the puck in the net.
Elmira came back in the second period, taking the play to the Lakers. It paid off with a nice display of patience resulting in the tying goal. Jan Velich skated across the slot area and seemingly in slow motion, drifted to his left. He waited and waited while still drifting until Scott committed. As the goalie started to go down and Velich was in the faceoff circle, Velich shot it high and over Scott’s shoulder.
The teams entered the third period tied and it was anybody’s game at that point.
“I thought they played very well,” Gosek said of the Soaring Eagles. “That was not an easy win.”
“I’m very happy,” Ceglarski said. “I think we made some great strides this weekend and saw the way we can play against ranked teams.”
Oswego got quite the scare six minutes into the game when Ryan Scott went down after a collision with an Elmira player off to the side of the net. Scott remained down for awhile, long enough that backup goalie, Chris Hyk, started to put on his equipment and stretch. However, after the trainer worked on Scott’s leg, he stayed in the game.
C.J. Thompson (F), Zalewski (D), and Scott (G) made the All Tournament team from the winning squad while forwards Justin Joy (Elmira) and Kevin Rollwagen (St. Thomas) and defenseman Greg Moore (Elmira) filled out the remaining spots. Scott was the Tournament MVP.
“He’s getting back to having fun and not put the pressure on himself having to carry the team,” Gosek said of his goaltender who made 25 saves.
Oswego stays home to defend their 16-game unbeaten streak against Hamilton College on January 16.
Elmira (4-7-1) returns home for a two-game series against Lebanon Valley on Friday and Saturday.