OSWEGO, N.Y. — Brandon Adams went from a healthy scratch a week ago to playoff hero, scoring all the goals in Oswego’s 2-0 victory over Buffalo State in the SUNYAC semifinals.
“Happy for him,” Oswego coach Ed Gosek said. “Sometimes you take a step back and you learn to appreciate your team. He wasn’t playing like himself. So for him to respond the way he did, whether he scored those goals or not, just happy for the kid. Today, he got back to his game.”
The first period was all Oswego, and they nearly got on the board just 11 seconds into the game. However, the whistle blew before the puck went in as the referee ruled the goalie had it covered.
Instead, the Lakers got their first at 5:43. Adams, racing down the right side, followed up his own shot to put the rebound up high over Mike DeLaVergne’s glove.
Despite outshooting the Bengals 15-4, Oswego only took the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
“We didn’t have the puck much,” Buffalo State coach Nick Carriere said of the first period. “We didn’t pressure them really hard in our D zone. We gave them opportunities of time with the puck. And when we got the puck, it was panic and we were wrapping it around the boards. Everything was one step slower than Oswego was tonight.”
At almost the same time in the second period, 5:18, Oswego and Adams scored their second. This time, Adams brought it down the left side on a two-on-one. He kept the puck, firing a pinpoint shot into the upper far corner, glancing off the pipes.
Once again, Oswego outshot Buffalo State by a huge margin, 15-5, and once again they only had one goal to show for it.
Buffalo State played harder in the third period trying to get on the scoreboard. This time, Matt Zawadzki was called upon to preserve the lead.
“As our goaltender coach, Pete Sears, always says, in games like this, to stay mentally sharp, many times is more difficult than the other guy,” Gosek said. “You can lose that focus. I think it’s a credit to him to keep that focus. I thought he tracked the puck very well tonight. I thought he handled the puck well.”
Zawadzki made 21 saves for the shutout.
A penalty by each team near the end, coupled by DeLaVergne, who registered 41 saves, getting pulled for the extra attacker, made it interesting at the end.
“We got better as the game went on,” Carriere said. “Our goaltender played very well. He kept us in it. At the end of the third period, we created more chances. Unfortunately, it took that long.”
Buffalo State finished the season at 12-12-3.
“We’re a young team; a lot of freshmen on our team,” Carriere said.
Adams just missed getting a hat trick, shooting wide on the empty net, but his comeback after being sat down for the last three games enabled Oswego (18-3-4) to play for the conference championship next Saturday.
“I thought we played a complete 60 minutes, all three zones,” Gosek said. “When you have that attitude of defense first, you can win a lot of games.”
That game will be at Plattsburgh, as the Cardinals withstood an upset-minded Brockport, 7-5, with an empty net goal to seal the semifinal contest.