OSWEGO, N.Y. — One of the most basic rules in sports is how many players a team is allowed to play. Everybody knows that in hockey, it’s six players, usually five skaters and a goaltender. Apparently, everybody but Plattsburgh.
Plattsburgh had trouble with this most basic rule, twice being called for too many men on the ice, the second of which resulted in a key goal on the delayed call. This helped propel Oswego to victory in the SUNYAC championship game, 4-0, and clinch them an automatic berth to the NCAA playoffs.
It’s Oswego’s ninth SUNYAC title.
“The turning point of the game was obviously getting that too many men on the ice delayed call and they scored,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “It was a huge turning point of the game. Now we come out of the locker room down two-zero. I don’t think we played too smart. We committed more penalties in the first period than we average all game. Oswego played pretty good defensively. Oswego deserved to win the game. They played hard. They played smart”
“It had so many similarities to 2007 with Norwich here,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “The same scenario with too many men on the ice. Totally uncharacteristic of McShane’s team. That game worked out our way similar to tonight. They [Plattsburgh] are normally very sharp on that. I can’t remember the last time they got called for too many men on the ice, never mind twice in one game.”
Luke Moodie scored twice, Andrew Hare stopped all 30 shots for the shutout as Oswego killed off all seven Plattsburgh power plays, and coach Ed Gosek celebrated his 52nd birthday.
“I told the boys we’re not going to lose this one,” Hare said. “And I was telling myself today it would be unreal if I could shut them out. It’s one of the times it actually worked.”
Oswego’s first goal was a result of a perfectly executed three-on-two late in the first period. Matt Singleton brought the puck into the zone down the left side and passed it to David Titanic in the middle, who quickly dished it off to his right. By now, all Tyler Leimbrock needed to do was redirect it into the unguarded near side at 15:12.
“It was a chip off the glass by our defenseman,” Leimbrock said. “I was ahead of the play. Titanic made a great play and then Singleton got it over to me. All I had to do was put it into the net. They made my job pretty easy.”
“We got beat up the ice on the first goal,” Emery said.
Thanks to that delayed too many men penalty, Oswego made it 2-0 at 18:29 of the second period on an own goal. Luke Moodie attempted to make a cross-ice pass, but it bounced off the skate of Plattsburgh’s Jared Docking and into the net.
“That was definitely luck, but I’ll take it,” Moodie said. “I saw Bobby Gertsakis go to the net, so I just tried to throw a pass to him and crash the net to see what happens. It went off the guy’s skate.”
Moodie put the game away at 7:54 of the final period. After intense pressure by Oswego forced a turnover, Moodie scooped in a wrist shot from the slot, beating Mathieu Cadieux over his glove.
“Great pass to me [by Chris Brown],” Moodie said.
Midway through the third period, with Plattsburgh on a power play, Emery pulled Cadieux for the extra attacker. After the penalty, he kept his goalie on the bench. Oswego withstood the pressure, and Jon Whitelaw finally scored one into the empty net to seal the contest.
“The first goal is the hardest one to get,” Emery said. “I tried anything to get that first goal. We called time out on that power play, and I said if we don’t get one in the first minute, we’re going to pull our goalie.”
“I don’t know if I’d do it,” Gosek conceded. “They could make it 3-1 at that point. They would get some momentum, and we would get back on our heels, so I don’t blame them.”
Plattsburgh placed two players on the All Tournament Team — Docking and defenseman Mike Grace. Oswego took the remaining positions — Chris Muise and Matt Singleton as forwards and defenseman Bobby Gertsakis. Hare was named the MVP.