There’s no doubt that the most intense rivalry in the SUNYAC is Plattsburgh vs. Oswego. What’s surprising is how much the road team dominates this rivalry.
One would think that with a rivalry such as this, where sellout crowds are guaranteed, crowds that need no prodding to be whipped into a frenzy, the home team would have a psychological edge. Not so.
Plattsburgh is not at all afraid playing in Oswego whether it was at one of the most intimidating places to play at in college hockey — the old Romney Fieldhouse — or at the brand new but very loud and boisterous Campus Center Ice Arena.
Since the 1996-97 season, Plattsburgh has gone 13-5-1 at Oswego. Three times during that time span, Plattsburgh eliminated Oswego in the playoffs despite the Lakers having home ice advantage. Plattsburgh also won the only two meetings in the new arena.
Meanwhile, playing at Stafford Ice Arena is no picnic either. Yet, Oswego has faired pretty well recently. The Lakers have not lost in the last three games at Plattsburgh, going 2-0-1. And since 2001-2, they have a winning record at 4-3-3.
Perhaps the players get too uptight when they play in front of a crowd that expects nothing less than a win.
Plattsburgh looked very relaxed in their game against Oswego. When they did get a bit uptight trying to protect a lead in the third period, their coach took care of things.
“It didn’t sink in to all the guys,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “Don’t play the game not to lose, play the game to win. We had some guys panicking with the puck in the defensive zone. We had to shorten the bench and get those guys out of the game.”
“The guys are trying so hard and they’re squeezing the sticks so tight,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “We need to relax and try to have some fun.”
Gosek was referring to the poor start the Lakers have gotten off to this season, but it could just as easily apply to hosting your most hated rival.
After all, the road team has nothing to lose. It’s the home team that has to answer to their crowd.
There were a lot of intense games over this past weekend besides the Plattsburgh-Oswego contest. Four games were either one-goal decisions or tied, with two of them going to overtime. All four involved the far western New York area and Rochester area travel partners.
The most intense game was the tie between Brockport and Buffalo State. Thirty-three penalties were called for a total of 82 minutes. A bunch came with one second left in overtime when Chris Koras ran the net trying to get the winning goal.
After Koras bumped the goaltender, Buffalo State came to his protection. Knowing the game was essentially over, many players decided to join in. When it was all said and done, Buffalo State got five minors and a ten-minute misconduct while Brockport received four minors and a 10-minute misconduct.
Speaking of one second, Buffalo State scored a key goal with one second left in the first period by Jeff Mok to give the Bengals a 2-1 lead. The Golden Eagles reversed the scoring in the second period for a 3-3 tie. They traded goals in the third period but no one scored in overtime despite nine shots in the extra period, six by Buffalo State.
Geneseo hosted two tough contests, splitting the games with the loss coming in an extra period.
“Both games were extremely competitive,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “Against Buffalo State, a couple of breakdowns on face offs, including the overtime goal, cost us the game. Other than those mistakes, we played well enough to win. But minor mistakes will cost you the game against good teams.
“The Fredonia game was an exciting game up and down the ice. Each team got over 40 shots, so that tells you what type of game it was. We had to really work for our goals. They weren’t beautiful goals by any means.”
Buffalo State came away the winner out of the weekend with three points. That puts them in third place, but have a number of games in hand against the two teams ahead of them.
Ed Gosek after Oswego lost to Plattsburgh dropping their record to
0-2-1: “We’re 0-2-1, or you can look at it as oh, gloom, and despair.”
SUNYAC Short Shots
Neal Sheehan scored a pair of goals including the game winner as Fredonia beat Brockport, 3-2, as Sean O’Malley got a pair for the losing side … Buffalo State’s Nick Petriello scored 40 seconds into the game, notched a second tally later on, and Jason Hill scored in overtime to beat Geneseo, 4-3 … Potsdam outshot an opponent for the first time this year, 28-26, in defeating Cortland, 4-2; both Red Dragons goals were scored by Barry McLaughlin in a game that took less than two hours … Trent Cassan scored two goals, Mathieu Cyr got three assists, and Derek Jokic made 42 saves as Geneseo defeated Fredonia, 4-3, with no scoring in the third period … Ryan Scott made 22 saves and just missed a shutout when Oswego beat Potsdam, 5-1 … Cortland led Plattsburgh, 1-0, after two periods when the floodgates opened and the Cardinals exploded for a 5-2 win … Keith Williams scored twice leading Morrisville to their first win of the year, 3-1, over Western New England.
Game of the Week
This early in the season along with the offset schedule now that there are an odd number of teams in the SUNYAC makes it difficult to look at any game as a must win situation or even a key game.
Nonetheless, with 16 league games to be played, there are certainly some contests that will have an effect on the final standings.
For one, there is Cortland at Brockport. This is a game the Golden Eagles absolutely cannot afford to fall asleep if they are to continue to be taken seriously.
Plattsburgh at Buffalo State has many connotations for both squads. Plattsburgh is red hot, and has run off a 5-0 conference record. However, it could be argued that four of those wins came against weak opponents and the win over Oswego had more to do with the rivalry than being a better team. The Bengals are a tough team, and this is the sort of game Plattsburgh can prove they truly are an undefeated team. And if they do, they got to prove themselves again the next night at Fredonia.
Meanwhile, Buffalo State has an opportunity to prove they are truly ready to make the leap into a bona fide frontrunner while Fredonia has an opportunity to prove last year’s playoff run was not a fluke.
The game I’m going to pick is Oswego at Geneseo. It should be a great game between two offensive teams in front of a sellout crowd.
“I’m expecting what we always see out of them,” Schultz said. “A team with tremendous speed that throws four lines at you. They are a more offensive team than we are, so we have to make sure our defense is perfect. And then capitalize on every grade A opportunity we have to score.”
“We have some things we certainly need to work on,” Gosek said. “Try to adjust to their powerplay and some of the things they like to do.”
If Oswego makes those adjustments and Geneseo takes advantage of their opportunities, this will be a very entertaining game to watch.
On The Periphery
I didn’t have any idea what I was going to write in this section. Then, I received my alumni newsletter. I flipped through the announcements, marriages, and births (and unfortunately, deaths) when I saw someone from the class of ’85 announcing the birth of their child.
Someone starting out late or perhaps having one last kid before calling it quits, I thought. Then I read the end of the announcement, “… celebrated the birth of their 13th child …”
That’s more than you need for a football team. A Canadian football team!
You can have them split up and play each other in hockey and have one kid leftover to be the ref.
Haven’t they heard of Dr. Stopp? Seriously. The top vasectomy surgeon in Rochester is Dr. Harold Stopp. I kid you not. You can’t make this stuff up.
If they are hockey fans, there is no way they can afford to take the family to an NHL game. Hopefully, they know all about Division III hockey — the best bargain for a great sport.
Thirteen … wow!