Special to Oswego County Today By Bill Foley
For the fourth time in the history of the Oswego State hockey program the team earned a berth in the NCAA Division III title game.
On Saturday night before 3,300 fans the Lakers lost to St. Norbert’s 4-1 and collected its third runner up finish.
Oswego had earned a berth in the title game with a energy draining 2-1 overtime victory against Amherst on Friday.
After the loss in the title game Coach Ed Gosek said, “St. Norbert played a great game defensively. The majority of the glaring mistakes we made they capitalized on. The effort on our part was there, but we did not have the same jump as last night.”
Green Knight Cody Keefer was the player who capitalized the most for the national champions. He scored just 18 seconds into the game as the Knights won the face off and he rifled a shot from just outside the circles from the middle of the ice. He later scored a power play with just 1:37 to go in the second period and then notched the final with 2:53 left in the game as Oswego was pressing to cut the 3-1 deficit.
Oswego mustered one goal and it was a solid effort as David Titanic tied the game at the 10:47 mark of the first period with Chris Brown giving him a perfect feed.
The Lakers had rallied back and appeared to be gaining momentum, but with 2:31 to go in the first Reid Campbell was battling for the puck along the boards. He sent a rink wide pass to Brandon Hoogenboom who slammed the puck past Andrew Hare for a 2-1 lead.
Oswego then had two power plays in the second period and it was at that point Gosek felt the game might have been turning.
He noted, “We seemed to get out of sync during those power plays and I feel we actually lost momentum during them. The got a power play goal late in the period and it gave them the momentum they needed.”
The third period opened with the Lakers having to kill off 61 seconds of a penalty.
They were successful. However, they were looking at a 3-1 deficit.
The breaks seemed to come as two consecutive penalties for hooking and interference near the midway point gave the Lakers another golden opportunity. However, they could not capitalize and after that appeared to be pressing and could not mount a sustained offensive effort.
In the end the Lakers simply stood and watched as the championship hardware was presented to St. Norbert.
The Lakers took home the runner up hardware that will find a home in the Campus Center and senior Ian Boots was named to the all-tourney team.
Gosek was proud of the season effort.
He said, “I am proud of our progress. You want to get better as the season progresses and we did that not only on the ice, but more importantly off the ice as well. We faced adversity and turmoil. Players have lost grandparents, family and friends this year and it brought us together.”
Continuing he said, “These guys are still champions in my mind.”
The coach talked about the impact the Oswego community has on his team.
He said, “Oswego is a blue collar community and they will support this team if they see the players working hard and conducting themselves in an accountable fashion.”
To sum up the championship game, Gosek said, “I am disappointed, but not disappointed in the way we played. We got beat by a better team tonight.”
Oswego outshot St. Norbert 30-25…The Green Knights defended their national championship…Lake Placid will host the Frozen Four again next year….A huge throng of Oswego fans made the trek to the North Country and showed their support by remaining until the Lakers saluted them for the final time of the season…Oswego 0x6 on power play and SN 1×5…Lakers finish 24-4-2 while Norbert is 21-5-5…Officials for the title game Joel Dupree and Dave Marcotte refs and Frasier McIntyre and Craig Florkowski lines…Lakers and fans say so long and thanks to Ian Boots, Hank Van Boxmeer, Jared Anderson, Paul Beckwith and Andrew Mather.