Though it took till the waning moments of the first period, Oswego made sure there would be no repeat of a Fredonia upset on Lakers’ ice in the SUNYAC playoffs.
After letting up a penalty-shot goal, Oswego scored three goals in a 3:01 span, rolling over Fredonia, 8-3, in the semifinal round. The Lakers went four-for-seven on the power play, Paul Rodrigues and Ian Boots each scored twice, and Andrew Hare made 17 saves.
“I thought they [Fredonia] did all the little things well,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek. “We were opportunistic and got some breaks, but I thought early on it was the same game (as) in their building early this year and last year here in the playoffs. They were committed to doing the little things, winning battles. We got better and started to battle more. As the game went on, we went back to our good habits.”
“I felt they were getting frustrated early on,” Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith said. “They just don’t need many chances to make you pay for it. If you’re going to beat them, you have to win the special teams, which means you have to basically hold them off the board on the power play. The last time they were held without a power-play goal I think was last year when we beat them here.”
A penalty shot resulted in the first goal of the night. Bryan Ross was hauled down on a breakaway by an Oswego defender at 7:09. Ross kept it simple on the free play. He skated straight in, briefly faked going to his backhand, momentarily freezing Hare. Ross went to his forehand, shooting it low past Hare’s left pad.
It took to the final two minutes for Oswego to score, which it did twice in 12 seconds. During the first power play, Chris Ayote from the right circle passed it across to Jon Whitelaw at the left circle, who fired a wrist shot past Mark Friesen at 18:01.
Zach Josepher quickly made it 2-1 when Ayote won the faceoff deep in Fredonia’s zone back to the left point. Josepher let go of a wrist shot through a crowd which found its way in.
“They were huge as far as momentum,” Gosek said. “I thought we were getting a lot of opportunities, but nothing to show for it. Those two goals for us, it was almost like a huge weight lifted off our chests with the way it has gone with Fredonia.”
“I don’t think we handled the adversity of the first goal, second goal very well,” Meredith said. “If you’re frustrated and you show it to everybody, you are not only affecting yourself, you are affecting everyone else. I think it’s maturity.”
Oswego jumped out to a 3-1 lead on its second power play at 1:02 of the second period. Josepher from the right point passed it over to Paul Rodrigues on the left point, who blasted a one-timer slap shot.
“Then we took the penalty at the end of the first,” Meredith said. “Now we’re staring down the barrel. We’ve got to kill off the penalty to start the second. Boom! Goal. That’s probably the goal that was the turning point.”
The Lakers continued their roll, making it 4-1 at 3:15 on a Chris Brown breakaway. Coming down the right side, Brown easily put it by Friesen.
Another power play, another goal for Oswego, this time during a five-on-three. Ian Boots ripped a shot from the top of the left circle.
Rodrigues made it 6-1 on a wraparound at 15:01 just as another power play expired.
Fredonia finally slowed the onslaught, scoring a power-play goal of its own with 42 seconds left in the period. Brett Mueller put it in from the right side almost on the goal line. He found an opening up high.
The Blue Devils made it a bit tighter on another power play at 13:03 of the final period. Stephen Castriota at the top of the top of the crease with his back to the goal deflected a Ross shot.
Two minutes later, Oswego got back to scoring. With Friesen way out of the net, Boots easily put the puck in for the 7-3 lead.
Oswego finished out the scoring with yet another power-play goal, scored by Hank Van Boxmeer from in close.
Fredonia ends its season at 12-11-3.
“I think it took us a long time to get our game together [this season],” Meredith said. “We left a lot of points on the table in the first semester. There’s ties that we have, losses that we have by a goal. That was disappointing because we followed up a good season from last year.”
Oswego (22-2-2) gets to host the SUNYAC Championship next Saturday.