Two games away from the midway point of the season, Oswego is in first place with a perfect 5-0 conference record thanks to the Ryan show-Ryan Ellis, Ryan Woodward, and Ryan Scott.
First, Oswego scored a 4-2 victory over the Cardinals in front of a huge crowd at Stafford Arena.
Woodward led off the scoring for the visitors with a first period tally. Shane Remenda tied it up for Plattsburgh early in the second before Ellis scored a pair of goals-one on the power play-to give Oswego a 3-1 lead. Mike Thomson got one back late in the final period before Ellis completed the hat trick and clinched the game with an empty netter. Woodward also picked up an assist in the game.
Ryan Scott got the win with 26 saves.
“Scott’s a real good goalie,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “And they are going to play well behind him.”
The next night, Oswego defeated Potsdam, 7-4, despite being outshot, 35-22. Scott made 31 saves to keep the Bears at bay.
Meanwhile, Ellis scored four goals as well as an assist while Woodward tallied one goal and three assists. Ellis scored the first two goals for Oswego, but each time, Potsdam tied it up on goals by Kevin Tessier and T.J. Sakaluk. Woodward and the hat trick by Ellis gave the Lakers a two goal lead.
Greg Lee kept it close for Potsdam before, who else, Ellis scored again. Another Sakaluk goal once again closed the gap to one to end the second period. Jocelyn Dubord scored twice, the latter an empty netter, to seal the win.
Woodward went on a rampage against Cortland in their 7-1 win. He scored four goals, including a natural hat trick, and an assist. Ellis grabbed three assists, giving both forwards 11 points each in the three games. The Lakers opened up a 5-0 lead before Cortland scored. Ryan Scott got his third win of the week with 19 saves.
Oh, let’s not forget to mention that starting defenseman Ryan Koresky picked up two assists in the Cortland game as well as have an impact all week defending the Lakers’ zone.
There is no truth to the rumor that Oswego is going to make everyone on the team change their name to Ryan.
Old time hockey broke out in the Brockport at Fredonia game.
Late in the second period with Fredonia leading 2-1, the Blue Devils’ Tom Briggs skated around the top of the circle and took a shot on Devin Ramasawamy. Ramasawamy made the save, holding the puck between his legs. The whistle hadn’t blown, so Briggs crashed the net poking at the goaltender’s legs trying to free the puck.
This knocked Ramasawamy to the ice. Frustrated, he jumped up, threw his mask off and went after Briggs, throwing a few punches. Naturally, the other Golden Eagles players jumped to their goalie’s protection. As this scrum erupted, Fredonia’s Evan DiValentino raced in from the point and jumped over the pile and started fighting with Ramasawamy.
Meanwhile, Briggs went after Gordon Pritchard. The refs were able to get Ramasawamy out of the mess and off the ice, so DiValentino then jumped David Dufresne.
This is college hockey, so we’re not exactly talking all out fisticuffs. In most cases, there wasn’t much there. More grabbing than anything else.
When it was all said and done, Briggs got a slashing call for the initial cause of the mess as well as a game disqualification. Needless to say, DiValentino got a fighting major and DQ. Kraig Kuzma got a 10-minute misconduct.
Brockport got hit harder. Their goalie was done for the day with a fighting major and DQ as was Dufresne. Pritchard got a DQ and Chris Cantara got a 10-minute misconduct.
Do the math, and this meant that after the first two minutes, Fredonia had a three minute major power play.
Brockport put in their third goalie, Derek Spence, and he played well as the Golden Eagles killed off the penalty. However, Fredonia’s Joe Muli scored a shorthanded goal in the third period en route to a 5-1 victory. Spence ended up making nine saves as Rick Cazares got the win with 21 saves.
“It was a very bad incident,” Brockport coach James Eccles said. “But, it got the team going. There was a spark after that.”
Fredonia’s coach Jeff Meredith’s main concern were the players he lost: “We had four defensemen in that third period. We can’t be successful by being in the box.”
Despite a strong effort, Brockport missed the players who got suspended, losing to Buffalo State, 4-2.
“The team really did come around for Saturday,” Eccles said. Brockport outshot the Bengals, 33-21.
Matt Mateja got the start in goal and made 17 saves, but he was outdone by Sean Sheehan with 31 saves.
After a scoreless first period, Buffalo State’s Cody Cole and Greg Prybylski scored in the second period followed by a Mike DeMarco third period goal to make it 3-0. Brockport got one back on a goal by Greg Schwind, Richard Curtis matched that for the Bengals. Schwind finished the scoring with two seconds left in the game.
Meanwhile, Fredonia had no problems rebounding the next night, dominating Geneseo, 6-1.
“It was our best game so far,” Meredith said. “We’re going through an evolution finding out how we want to play.”
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Scott Bradley, Muli, and Neal Sheehan. Mitch Stephens scored just before the first period ended, but Geneseo would never see the red light again. Sheehan scored his second 17 seconds into the second period followed by third period goals by Matt Zeman and Steve Greenberg.
Fredonia capped off their week with a home win. After falling behind to Buffalo State 2-0 and 3-1, the Blue Devils rallied back thanks to a hat trick by Matt Zeman, including the game winner in overtime.
SUNYAC Short Shots
Potsdam’s Adam Gebara scored two goals and four assists against Cortland … Oswego’s Jocelyn Dubord got four assists against Cortland … Geneseo’s Mitch Stephens once again scored the game winner in overtime, this time against Buffalo State … The next night, Stephens scored the team’s lone goal against Fredonia with .1 seconds left in the first period … Cortland jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Potsdam by scoring 12 seconds apart … Potsdam and Oswego traded goals 12 seconds apart in the second period … Buffalo State went four for seven on the power play in their overtime loss to Geneseo and then two for four the following day against Brockport … Overall, Potsdam’s power play is a
league best of 35.5 percent and within conference they are tops at 39.5 percent followed closely by Oswego at 39.3 percent … Fredonia is once again a dangerous team when taking a penalty; they have already scored four shorthanded goals while having the league’s best penalty kill at 86.8 percent overall … Oswego also has four shorthanded goals.
Tournament of the Holidays
For the next two weeks, there are only 11 games, two tournaments and just one conference matchup (Geneseo at Brockport) involving SUNYAC schools. Brockport hosts one of those tournaments, the PAL Cup, with Southern New Hampshire, St. Anselm, and Plymouth taking part.
No games match up to the wonderful Primelink Tournament. Occasionally, there is a tournament with a strong field, but never over a consistent basis has there been a tournament as strong as the Primelink. This year, with Potsdam hosting, completes the second cycle for a total of eight years that New York and Vermont fans have enjoyed great hockey competition on Thanksgiving weekend.
It is confirmed that they will be doing this for another cycle of four years with the only detail to be worked out being the rotation of the pairings.
Make no mistake about it, this tournament means a lot to the teams.
“We think the Primelink Tournament is second only to the league championship which is the only thing we put ahead of it,” Emery said. “It’s big for our area, big for our teams, big for our fans.”
Potsdam’s coach Glenn Thomaris echoes those sentiments: “It ranks in the top two moments of the season along with the playoffs.”
Perhaps the only drawback to the tournament (and this is being nit-picky) is that two of the teams are in the same conference instead of having four top teams from four top conferences squaring off. Does it bother the coaches of the two SUNYAC participants that they have to play each other the first night when they already see each other twice in conference play?
“Those are the set pairings,” Thomaris said. “Unfortunately, we have to play a conference team in the first game. We can’t overlook the fact that there are four great teams, no matter who we play in the first game.”
“There’s no easy team in the tournament, so there’s no benefit for whoever we play,” Emery said.
No matter what happens the first night, the teams will be faced with another tough contest against either Middlebury or Norwich on the second night.
Both teams come into the tournament with a week off and are relatively happy with how the season has gone so far.
“It was good for us having a weekend off going into the Primelink,” Emery said. “We have decent talent. We have to become more gelled.”
“We got off to a slow start,” Thomaris said. “But we’re starting to click lately. Win-loss record is not where we wanted it to be, but we are heading in the right direction.”
You can’t go wrong heading in the direction of wherever the Primelink Tournament is being played.
Life Is Good
There will not be a column next week as I take a break for the Thanksgiving holidays. I will be traveling down to Long Island to visit various relatives who will be congregating at my sister’s house as well as spend some time with my four-month old nephew. I have no worries that my nephew will be a proper hockey-loving member of society-his father played on the club hockey team for Stony Brook University.
We’re also going to spend a day in New York City. And, I’m sure I’ll be eating a hot soft pretzel from a street vendor.
I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving Day. May your turkey be fat and your stomach not so bloated.