OSWEGO, N.Y. — It was dj vu all over again at the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Hockey Classic. Just like the first semifinal game, the team sitting on the visitor’s bench jumped out to a 2-0 lead, only to have the team sitting on the home bench come roaring back for an 8-3 victory.
This time it was the true home team, Oswego (9-5-1), who performed the comeback to beat Skidmore, sending the Lakers into the championship game of their own tournament, after missing out last year. Oswego will face Augsburg at 7:00 Saturday night. Garren Reisweber led the way with a hat trick.
“As a team, I was pleased they held their composure and kept on battling to tie it up in the first,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “Skidmore is a good team. We are pleased we showed the poise and composure of a veteran team. The seniors leading the way coming back slowly, patiently and doing the right thing. It was a good character builder for us.”
Skidmore got on the scoreboard first at 2:26 thanks to a quick transition. Hunter Thayer coming straight in slightly to the left, placed one off the near post and crossbar leaving Tim Potter with no hope.
The Thoroughbreds jumped out to a stunning 2-0 lead at 7:31 on just their third shot. Sasha Thomas racing down the right side wound up and fired a slapshot from the top of the face off circle. The defender in front of him stuck his stick out deflecting it. Unfortunately, that deflection fooled Potter, as the puck beat him on the near side.
Potter’s first start for Oswego since transferring from Clarkson did not get off to an auspices beginning.
“We really weren’t playing that poorly,” Gosek said. “We had some great opportunities. Their kid made some very good saves. We just couldn’t put it in. Our D steps up, hits the kid, our forward losses the guy and he comes in and rips one off the post. The second one, another breakdown and on a deflection it goes in. I really can’t fault him [Potter].”
However, Potter’s new team bailed him out with two quick goals 1:35 apart late in the period to go into the first intermission tied at two.
Peter Magagna notched the first one from in close while the teams skated four aside. Chris Laganiere scored on the power play, picking up a rebound in close and flipping it past Colin Bessey.
Oswego took their first lead of the game at 4:36 of the second period. Bessey left a rebound to his left from a Mark Lozzi shot up high. Reisweber swooped in, putting it past a diving Bessey.
McLaughlin made it 4-2 at 11:04 when he dug the puck out of the feet of a defender and then fired a snap shot easily beating Bessey.
Skidmore wouldn’t go quietly, however. About three minutes later, they cut the lead to 4-3. Matt Czerkowicz redirected the puck in at the doorstep after Mike Gibbons threw it in front from behind the net.
The one-goal deficit didn’t last long as Oswego came right back a minute later. Whitehead’s one-timer blast made it 5-3.
Oswego buried Skidmore in the first 1:47 of the final period, scoring twice within 19 seconds. Hank Van Boxmeer had a completely open net to shoot at from the slot area as Bessey was caught out of position after a pass from the corner by Whitehead. Reisweber then converted a two-on-one by taking the shot himself from the left side in close that somehow got by the goalie.
At this point Skidmore called time out yet it was Oswego replacing Potter in net with Chris Hyk. Potter was suffering from cramps.
Reisweber got the hat trick at 6:56 when he found himself all alone at the doorstep after a feed from Levy. He backhanded the puck up high for the easy score, making it 8-3.
“Awesome for him,” Gosek said of Reisweber. “It’s good to see. He’s worked awfully hard this year. Credit to him, he hasn’t got himself worried about putting up the numbers, and I think because of it he’s been a more complete player for us. When you stop worrying about it, it’s funny how things fall for you.”
As for the title game tomorrow, Gosek said, “It will be a good challenge. Brownie [Chris Brown] does a great job preparing his team. We look forward to it. We’d like nothing more to get on track as far as our tournament is concerned after last year’s disappointment.”
Skidmore (4-3-0) is now relegated to the consolation game tomorrow at 4:00 against their league rival, Babson. The two teams have not met this season.