OSWEGO, N.Y. — It was a tale of two games.
In the first two periods, Oswego opened a commanding 4-0 lead
over Geneseo, outshooting the Ice Knights, 21-10.
For the third period, Geneseo nearly mounted a shocking comeback,
outscoring Oswego, 4-1, but ultimately falling short as Oswego
eked out a 5-4 win.
“I give them credit,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “We just came out
flat, back on our heels in the third. We give up the most goals in the
game in the third. We give up the most shots in the third. Tonight,
the third period again not very good. I have a hard time believing it’s
the conditioning as much as it’s the focus. You let the team back in it
and then its the typical scenario. They get some momentum and you’re
back on your heels.”
Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said of the third period turnaround, “Making
sure the guys followed their leaders, making sure they followed the
seniors’ lead going into the period. They’ve been there before; they
have that never say die attitude you need to win games like this.”
The Lakers got their first goal at 7:23 when Rich Zalewski shot in a
rebound from the left faceoff circle. The initial shot from the right
side was stopped, but when the rebound came out, Derek Jokic was down on
the ice on his back, enabling Zalewski to easily place it just inside
the near post.
Oswego used a rekindled power play (only 16.2% coming into tonight’s
game), scoring the next three goals on their first five extra man
opportunities, including two during a major penalty.
“We didn’t want to dwell on the 16% leading up to tonight’s game,” Gosek
said. “When you get that sort of stat, it takes forever to try to get
it up. So we said forget it, we’re starting from scratch here tonight.
Let’s finish the last five games and get it at 25% if we can and have
some confidence in the PP heading into the playoffs.”
Oswego nearly got their second goal on their first power play when Neil
Musselwhite beat the defense and went in alone. However, Jokic made a
great glove save on the backhand attempt. It wouldn’t be till the next
set of penalties on Geneseo before Oswego doubled their lead.
Despite pounding the net during a two-man advantage, Oswego didn’t get
their second goal until the first penalty expired. Matt Whitehead
caught the defense flat footed, and zipped around them to go in alone on
Jokic. Whitehead faked going to his forehand, and backhanded it from
the right side over Jokic’s glove at 17:11.
The lead doubled again at the tail end of the second period when Oswego
scored twice in a 1:21 span during the same penalty which was a major
for hitting from behind and a game misconduct on Andrew Rygiel.
Brendan McLaughlin parked himself by the right post and converted a
perfect backdoor tip after receiving a cross-ice pass from Zalewski.
Zalewski then continued to be part of every goal to that point when he
scored his second of the night on a blast from the right point. The
puck hit a bar in the back of the net and came out so fast it caused a
delayed celebration, waiting for the referee to signal it was in.
The second period ended 4-0 and saw Geneseo only get four shots on goal.
Zalewski had two goals and two assists.
“I thought he played well not just offensively, but I thought he played
very well defensively,” Gosek said “I thought he did very well moving
the puck. I thought he played a pretty mistake free game.”
Then came the “second” game.
At 2:12 of the final period. Dave Schroeder banged in the puck from
close range as Oswego had difficulty clearing it out of the crease. It
ended Scott’s 112:12 consecutive minutes of shutout hockey, dating back
to the previous game, a 6-0 shutout over Potsdam.
Just over two minutes later at 4:37, the Ice Knights scored again, this
time on the power play. Jonathon Dulude threw the puck at the net, and
though Scott saw it all the way, he gave up the rebound. Brandon French
was there to send it home.
Oswego called time out, but Geneseo maintained the momentum. Before the
period was half over, suddenly Geneseo was just a goal behind.
Dan Sullivan threw it towards the net from the side, and the puck banked
off Ryan Scott’s skate and into the net.
What appeared to be a blowout quickly turned into a nail biter.
However, Oswego had had enough.
After failing to score on a power play, the Lakers finally got one back.
Ellis and Lyon went in on a fast rush, Ellis from the right side passed
it across to Lyon. Without breaking his stride, Lyon one timed it past
Jokic at full speed at 13:43.
Geneseo was not going to go away. At 16:58 they were once again within
a goal thanks to a power play tally by Trent Cassan. A shot went off
the backboards, and Cassan was there in front to knock it in.
Shortly afterwards, Mathieu Cyr had a breakaway, tried to force it
through the five-hole, but Scott closed his pads in time. Meanwhile,
Oswego had a few excellent opportunities to put the game away including
a breakaway, but Jokic made some outstanding saves.
“He’s really coming on now,” Schultz said of Jokic’s play. “He had a
couple of bad games early on. He wasn’t coming up with that big save
that you needed in game, and he certainly did that today. He did a very
good job of coming up with that big save, giving us a chance to go down
the other end. That’s what we need out of him.”
Geneseo was able to get Jokic off the ice, but despite pressure, were
unable to get the equalizer.
“We’ll take the win and hopefully we learn from it,” Gosek said. “At
this time of year you can’t look back and be all negative. I thought we
played two solid periods leading into the third and then we let them
Oswego (9-2-1, 13-5-2) stays home to play Brockport, who is desperate
for a win after losing to Cortland, 4-2.
“They are a senior ladened team,” Gosek said of his upcoming opponents.
“This is it, they’re fighting for their lives. They have nothing to
hold back for. You have to match that intensity and you have to
execute. Hopefully, we can get off to a good start and play a solid
three periods of hockey for our last [home] game for our seniors.”
Geneseo (5-7-0, 6-14-0) travels to Cortland needing a win as the Red
Dragons are one point ahead for the final playoff spot.
“It goes back to keeping your emotions stable, taking things shift by
shift,” Schultz said of the upcoming must win game. “You can’t look
ahead at all. If you start looking ahead, that’s when you’re going to
get yourself in trouble. It certainly will be a gut check, but we did
it last weekend. We lost to Buffalo State and came back and played a
solid game against Fredonia. We’re going to expect to do the same thing