OSWEGO, N.Y. – The No. 5 Oswego State men’s ice hockey team snapped a three-game skid with a stellar 3-2 victory over No. 4 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the opening round of the 11th annual PathFinder Bank/Oswego State Hockey Classic at the Marano Campus Center Arena on Friday night.
Oswego (11-3-0) advances to face familiar foe Utica College (10-4-0) in the championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Blugolds (10-2-3) will compete with Curry College (7-4-1) in the consolation game, which precedes the championship at 4 p.m.
Oswego’s triumph in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA Division III national championship game is just UW-Eau Claire’s second loss of the year, and its first in regulation. Previously, the Blugolds’ only loss had been to now No. 12 Augsburg in overtime.
In the first period, Oswego’s Andrew Barton tried to center a puck from behind the net but it was deflected. Stephen Johnson was able to corral the loose puck and fired a shot on net that ricocheted off Barton’s knee and into the back of the net at 12:27. The 1-0 Laker advantage would hold for the remainder of the first period.
Oswego would tack on two tallies in the middle period, starting at 10:07. With 12 seconds left on a power-play, Chris Raguseo shot a puck from the point that was batted down by TJ Sneath, catching the goaltender off-balance for a notch.
Mitchell Herlihey was also credited with an assist on the play along with Raguseo.
The Lakers proceeded to capitalize on another man-advantage later in the period, this time with the Blugolds whistled for interference.
Kenny Neil swung the puck to senior classmate Alex Botten at the point. Botten turned to his left and found a waiting Matt Galati. Galati ripped a one-timer that the goalie never saw to give Oswego a 3-0 margin at 18:32 of the second.
UW-Eau Claire made it interesting in the final 20 minutes, recording goals at 5:47 and 13:17 to pull to within one. Oswego had to kill a late hooking penalty and survived another man-down situation when the Blugolds pulled their goalie in the waning minutes.
A 10-minute misconduct with 7.6 seconds left against UW-Eau Claire sealed the game as it sent the faceoff into the Lakers’ offensive zone with Oswego up one skater.
David Jacobson made 19 saves in net for the Lakers to earn the victory.
Oswego’s penalty-kill unit was perfect on the night, holding the Blugolds off the scoreboard on three different occasions.