OSWEGO, NY – After a 1-13 regular season the Oswego Lady Bucs hockey team entered tournament action at the defending state champion and number one seeded Ithaca.
What happened will never be forgotten by the Lady Bucs or their fans.
The fourth-seeded Lady Bucs varsity hockey team was 0-2 against Ithaca this winter, but they won when it really counted, shocking the Little Red 1-0 in overtime Thursday night in Ithaca in the first round of playoff action.
Junior forward Ashley Pitters was credited with the game-winner with 2:39 remaining in the first overtime period, and now the Bucs move on to the regional championship versus Alexander Bay on Monday, February 6 at 6 p.m.
Ithaca had romped over Oswego 8-0 in December at Ithaca, but the second game, in Oswego in January, resulted in a considerably respectable 4-0 loss for the Bucs.
“We told the girls we wanted to play even hockey, and take this game as deep as we could,” said head coach Dan Bartlett, “The girls really bought into that plan. We really couldn’t have played a better game.”
The first period saw the Little Red outshoot the Bucs by an 11-3 margin, but sophomore goalie Maddie Whalen was unbeatable. Even two penalties didn’t stop Oswego from their determined play. Ithaca’s Alex Stagliano wasn’t tested as often, but the Bucs were able to put some pressure on the Ithaca goalie.
The second period saw more of the same at each end. Each team took one penalty in the period, but neither capitalized on their power play. With the Bucs defense blocking shots and keeping the puck wide on transition, Ithaca registered just five shots on goal, and Oswego was credited with just one.
Although the third period was also scoreless, there was no lack of drama. At the 5:31 mark, just three seconds into their fourth penalty kill of the game, Oswego was whistled for another penalty, giving the Little Red a five-on-three advantage for 1:27. Lainey Celeste, Sage Dudley, and Ali Rodgers stayed on the ice the entire time, blocking shots, clearing the puck from the front of the net, and giving Whalen a chance to see the puck. Once the penalties were released without an Ithaca goal, the Bucs knew they were right where they wanted to be. Whalen finished the third period with eighth saves, compared to Stagliano’s two.
“I told the girls to play each five minutes like it was its own game, that we wanted to tie or lead after every five-minutes. One success led to another, and the next thing we know we’re in overtime,” said Bartlett.
The two teams took a quick break before beginning the first of a possible two five-minute sudden-death overtime periods. Oswego’s goal came as the defense cleared the puck into the neutral zone, where Taite Phillips battled for possession. Rodgers joined in on the battle, and passed the puck to Ashley Pitters as she broke into the Ithaca zone. Her shot was saved by Stagliano, but a frantic goalmouth scramble ensued, and before play could be whistled dead, Pitters knocked her own rebound into the net, causing the Bucs to storm onto the ice in wild celebration.
Whalen finished the game with 24 saves, while Stagliano had eight.
The Bucs are now 2-14, while Ithaca sits at 7-3-2; they will wait to see if they can earn the lone at-large bid in next weekend’s Final Four at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Members of the team included seniors Sarah Gosek and Allison Yule, juniors Ashley Pitters and Sarah Mancuso, sophomores Maidsyn Whalen, Caroline Dougherty, Taite Philliops, Lauren Daniels, Johnna Scruton and Austin Jackson as well as ninth graders Sage Dudley, Shanell Meyers, Lainey Celeste and Elizabeth Bonner and seventh grader Alison Rodgers.
Bowlers Each Win Two
Oswego boys’ bowlers moved to 31-8 on the year with a 2-1 edge against a tough Fayetteville-Manlius team while the girls continue their quest to reach the sectionals by picking up two more points.
In boys action the Bucs lost the first 923-884, but came right back for two wins by scores of 979-938 and 1,034-1,004. Meanwhile, the girls’ won the first 757-692 and captured the second 701-652 before falling 762-740.
The scoring for the boys’ were Matt Clemons with a 758 as he improved game to game. Clemons started with a 223 and then hit a 258 before closing the series with a 277. Joe Clavelli hit for the lone 600 series as he chalked up a 642 (194-234-214). Gavin Gilbert rolled a 528 (157-163-208), Cameron Byrne 500 (168-150-182) and Zach Delbrocco 469 (142-174-153).
Other bowlers included two games each by Ethan Simmons 362 (180-182), Jim Rose 351 (171-180), Dan Cliff 316 (151-165), Kevin Goodale 309 (125-184) and David Woolworth 275 (150-125).
The girls’ were pretty consistent as leading the way was Christie Hoefer with a 487 (151-182-154) and she was followed by Ashlee Lytle 455 (164-134-157), Caitlin Clemons 424 (159-137-128), Sierra Adams 419 (141-117-161) and Rachel Nye 413 (142-131-140).
Other Bucs rolling three games, but not included in the scoring, included Tori Gardner 406 (129-142-135), Meghan Flack 390 (150-120-120), Caroline Reynolds 352 (112-120-120), Victoria Soper 334 (89-109-136), and Abbey Henderson 316 (75-140-101.
Coach Bob Hoefer said, ”The girls’ continue to improve and now need five of the last nine points to qualify for sectionals.”