OSWEGO, N.Y. — Oswego may be national champions, but Plattsburgh owns their rink.
For the second year in a row, Plattsburgh defeated Oswego in the second
year of the Campus Center Ice Arena. Last year it was 4-1. This time
it was 4-2 with an empty netter to clinch.
“Of course I’m disappointed with the result, but I was very pleased with
the effort,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said.
“I thought there were a lot of grade A scoring chances on both teams,”
Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “I think it could have been easily a
10-9 game if there weren’t good goaltending on either end.”
Clearly the most intense rivalry in the SUNYAC took to the stage for the
91st time. A standing room only Campus Center Ice Arena, with most of
the home fans wearing white, as Oswego for the second year in a row
attempts to rid itself of the dreaded bagel tradition into a whiteout
affair, greeted the teams.
However, it was Plattsburgh who got on the board first with a goal that
initially many didn’t know went in. The shot was taken inside the left
point through a partial screen. Ryan Scott went down, thought he had
it, but it somehow sneaked through. Even the Cardinals didn’t celebrate
right away until the referee signaled a goal.
Following two successive Plattsburgh penalties that gave Oswego a
two-man advantage, Emery surprisingly called time out.
“In hindsight I wouldn’t have taken it as they still scored,” Emery
said. “I had my best defenseman, Nick Rolls, tired. I was trying to
take a one goal lead into the locker room. I wanted to rest him. I
wanted to get our best penalty killer on the ice. If it works, I’m a
genius but it didn’t because they scored on it.”
The tying goal was never in doubt. Neil Musselwhite skated in the zone
to his left. At the top of the faceoff circle, he let go a highlight
reel shot. It flew over the opposite shoulder of Bryan Hince, smacked
the posts, and bounced down and in.
The first period ended as evenly as it could — one goal each, eleven
shots each, and virtually even territorially control.
The second period was not as even as Plattsburgh started to take control
of the game, out shooting Oswego, 10-6, and scoring both goals to take a
“I think we were able to get them to cough up a few pucks in the neutral
zone,” Emery said of the second period.
“Penalties on our part,” Gosek said. “Can’t take that many penalties
and constantly be in the defensive mode, killing off penalties.”
The go-ahead goal came the moment an Oswego penalty expired. Ward Smith
wristed a waist high shot from the left side that appeared to have
fooled Scott, sailing past him untouched.
Almost ten minutes later Plattsburgh scored the type of goal that can
break a team’s back. With the puck about to exit the zone, Nick Rolls
got it, but was facing the wrong way. He simply flipped it backwards
towards the net.
The old adage, good things come from throwing the puck at the net came
true. Dylan Clarke was standing unseen at the backdoor, and easily
tipped in the puck.
The Lakers came out flying for the final period as Gosek must have lit a
fire under them. It didn’t take long for the swarming in front of Hince
to pay off — just 1:19. Ryan Ellis fired it from in close, and the
crowd was now completely back into the game.
Plattsburgh had an opportunity to quickly turn the momentum right back
to their favor just a couple of minutes later when C.J. Tozzo went in on
a breakaway. However, Scott played it very aggressively, diving at the
puck, knocking it away with his stick.
“We needed a break, we needed a play out of someone,” Gosek said. “I
was hoping that was it. But, it wasn’t there tonight.”
The goal lead became ever more tenuous as Oswego was all over the
“I thought we were much better not getting selfish near the end,” Gosek
“It didn’t sink in to all the guys,” Emery said about what he told his
team. “Don’t play the game not to lose, play the game to win. We had
some guys panicking with the puck in the defensive zone. We had to
shorten the bench and get those guys out of the game.”
“Guys are trying so hard, squeezing the sticks so tight, we can’t get a
bounce,” Gosek said. “You’d think in the third one of those are going
to go, bounce off a leg, or something. But it didn’t happen.”
Instead, T.J. Cooper scored an empty net goal to clinch the game.
Plattsburgh goes to 4-0, all within the conference. They travel to
Cortland which has been a thorn on the Cardinals side recently.
“It’s not easy getting ready them ready for Cortland, no doubt about
that,” Emery said. “Let them enjoy the win, and we’ll see what kind of
leadership we have going into the Cortland game, because we are going to
need a lot of leadership.”
Meanwhile, Oswego, stunningly, has gotten off to a 0-2-1 start. They
host Potsdam, who beat Cortland, 4-2, tonight.
“We haven’t gotten off to the start we wanted,” Gosek said. “Potsdam is
a team that will come in with everything to gain and nothing to lose.
We need to relax and try to have some fun.”