OSWEGO, N.Y. — This time Plattsburgh held onto a third-period lead en route to their 21st SUNYAC championship, beating Oswego 3-2 Saturday night.
The Cardinals scored twice in the final period and then withstood a late power play to snap Oswego’s seven-game unbeaten streak against Plattsburgh.
“I thought we played a good, smart game,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “We got pucks out. We got pucks in. We did a pretty good job of slowing them down on the attack. They are a really good team on the rush.”
“That’s the best I’ve seen their team play in quite some time,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “They did a good job of making it difficult in the offensive zone to create opportunities. I think they worked extremely hard. I can’t think of maybe a few odd-man rushes. This game, they did a good job of playing a good defensive game, which led to their transition offensively.”
Entering the third period tied 1-1, Mike Grace gave Plattsburgh its first lead of the game at 4:33. Matt McLeod’s shot from the right side resulted in a rebound near the line and Grace was there to poke it in.
Nearly four minutes later, Nick Jensen caught Andrew Hare unprepared to make it 3-1. Immediately off the face off, Jensen picked up the puck in the slot and backhanded it high over Hare’s stick, as Hare did not set up in time.
However, just when it appeared Plattsburgh had the game in hand, images of last week’s blown third-period lead against Buffalo State flashed in front of them as Oswego scored seven seconds later.
A quick dump in and a misguided play by Mathieu Cadieux left the net open. Kyle Badham shot from the right corner at seemingly an impossible angle, somehow finding an open part of the net.
Patrick Jobb committed a slashing penalty with 4:03 left. Oswego applied tremendous pressure, but could not get many shots on net, and when they did, Cadieux came up big.
“They got a late power play on another uncharacteristic penalty on us,” Emery said. “Our penalty kill is No. 1 in the nation. It has to do with a lot of different guys, but your goalie has to be your best penalty killer.”
Oswego pulled its goalie late, but could not muster any sort of attack.
Oswego carried the play in the early part of the opening period, including having the only power play. However, Cadieux turned away every Oswego rush.
Plattsburgh began switching the momentum to their side when Kyle Kudroch nearly knocked a loose puck into an open net when Hare was caught out. However, Hare recovered just in time to block the shot while Badham sent Kudroch flying to the ice.
Jared Docking nearly scored on a fast rush in the last minute, but instead was sent crashing into the net. The Cardinals outshot the home team in that period, 12-5.
An uncharacteristic penalty by Plattsburgh resulted in the first goal of the game at 9:15 of the second. With Paul Puglisi already in the box for hooking, Kyle Taylor committed an unnecessary cross-checking infraction to give Oswego a two-man advantage.
“I was getting ready in the post-game interview if we had lost saying we shot ourselves in the foot,” Emery said. “He took a bad penalty to put them up five-on-three. We kept them to one, which was good enough.”
The Lakers made good on it. Jon Whitelaw ripped a one-time slapshot from the left dot that flew over Cadieux’s near shoulder.
Plattsburgh got it back with a power-play goal of its own with 1:11 left in the middle stanza. Nick Jensen’s shot from the blueline was stopped, but Docking in the slot backhanded it in while being checked to the ice.
The shots showed how well Plattsburgh kept Oswego’s offense in check. In the third period, Oswego only got four shots on goal, with a game total of 17. Plattsburgh put 27 shots on goal.
Plattsburgh (18-4-4) gets the automatic bid into the NCAA while Oswego (22-2-2) is ensured of an at-large selection. Where the teams play and against whom will be announced by the NCAA on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.