OSWEGO, N.Y. – The top-ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team held off upset-minded Utica by the score of Friday night in Oswego. The 13th-ranked Pioneers entered the contest having knocked off three consecutive ranked opponents, but Laker goaltender Dan Jones recorded 27 saves in his first collegiate appearance to move Oswego State to 12-0-0. Utica dropped to 8-4-0 overall with the loss.
The Lakers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Paul Rodrigues took a shot from the blue line that was deflected past Utica goaltender Evan Smith by Jon Whitelaw for his fifth goal of the season 1:11 into the contest. The Pioneers had a few quality scoring opportunities in the period, but Oswego State goalie Dan Jones stood tall as the Lakers took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Utica knotted the score at 1-1 early in the second period when Chris Santiago capitalized on a failed Oswego State clearing attempt. Santiago got the puck near the left face-off circle, skated across the rink before ripping a shot into the net at 3:58. The Lakers gained a 5-on-3 chance midway through the stanza for a minute, but the Pioneers effectively killed both penalties to preserve the tie.
A Utica tripping penalty led to Oswego State’s second goal at 13:59. Stephen Mallaro moved the puck from the right point across to Ian Boots, who laced a pass cross-ice to Justin Fox. Fox was cocked for the one-timer as he launched a missile from the right face-off circle past Smith, who stood no chance to make the save. Smith finished the contest with 30 saves.
The teams went up and down the rink in the third period until the Pioneers had a golden chance to even the score when Evan Chlanda skated in alone on Jones, who made the initial save. Chlanda got his stick on the rebound, but Jones kept the puck from crossing the goal by making a lunging stick save with just over five minutes remaining as the Lakers clung to the lead.
Utica pulled Smith with 1:24 to play to gain the extra skater advantage and consequently called a timeout ten seconds later following a whistle, but was unable to get a good look at the net in the waning moments.
Oswego State wraps up the semester Saturday night when it travels to Geneva to face Hobart at 7 p.m.