OSWEGO, N.Y. – For the first time since 2006-07, the Oswego State menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hockey team will be headed back to the NCAA Division III MenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hockey Tournament after defeating visiting Plattsburgh 6-3 for the SUNYAC Championship on Saturday night in Oswego. The Lakers displayed a balanced attack as six different players scored goals in front of a sold-out crowd. Oswego State, which earned its eighth conference title overall and first since 2002-03, improved to 25-2-0 on the season, while the Cardinals dropped to 18-5-4.
Paul Rodrigues (Fr., Etobicoke, Ont.) got the scoring started at 9:32 in the first period when he netted a wrist shot from the left side over the glove of Plattsburgh goaltender Ryan Williams. Luke Moodie (Fr., Burlington, Ont.) and Michael Gilchrist (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) were credited with assists on the goal.
Owen Kelly (Jr., Plattsburgh, N.Y.) stretched the lead to two when he scored on a pass from Andrew Mather (So., Ottawa, Ont.) at 13:26 in the first period. The Lakers would carry their two-goal lead until midway through the second period when the Cardinals ended the shutout bid. Andrew Willock was able to push the puck in the net after a long scramble at 9:17 in the second period. Eric Satim recorded an assist on the play. Kevin Huinink (Jr., Whitby, Ont.) positioned himself behind Kyle Gunn-Taylor (Sr., West Seneca, N.Y.) during the scramble, saving several scoring chances before the eventual goal.
Huinink got Oswego State back on track at 16:11 when he blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line that beat Williams up high. Mather pushed the score to 4-1 when he fired a wrist shot that beat the Cardinal goaltender stick-side at 18:04 in the second stanza. Mather received a pass from Kelly, switching roles from their combined effort on a first period goal.
Just 22 seconds later, Taylor Farris (Fr., Oakville, Ont.) received a pass from Tyler Leimbrock (Fr., Bolton, Ont.) and took it down the left side before letting go of a wrist shot. The shot trickled between WilliamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ legs and into the net, making the score 5-1 for FarrisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ first collegiate score.
Momentum continued to be on the side of Oswego State at the start of the third frame when Justin Fox (Jr., Whitby, Ont.) scored 51 seconds in when he took a pass from Chris Laganiere (Jr., Owego, N.Y.) and beat Josh Leis, who had replaced Williams at the start of the third, with a wrist shot over his glove from the middle of the ice. It was the fourth Laker goal in a five-minute span.
Plattsburgh continued to fight late into the game, scoring two goals 2:16 apart to bring the lead down to 6-3 with less than three minutes remaining. Eric Satim and Dylan Clarke scored for Plattsburgh, both on power plays, but it would not be enough as Oswego State went on to hoist the championship trophy.
In goal for the Lakers, Kyle Gunn-Taylor (Sr., West Seneca, N.Y.) registered 35 saves on the night. The Plattsburgh goalies combined for 17 saves, as Williams had nine and Leis had eight.
After the game, the SUNYAC All-Tournament Team was announced. Oswego StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kyle Gunn-Taylor was selected as the top goalie and Tyler Lyon (Sr., Foxboro, Ont.) was chosen for play at the blue line. The three forwards chosen were MorrisvilleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chris Cerbino, PlattsburghÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Dylan Clarke, and Oswego StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tyler Leimbrock.
Oswego StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kevin Huinink was named the SUNYAC Tournament Most Valuable Player, after recording two goals and an assist in two Laker games and a +5 rating.
With the win, the Lakers avenged last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defeat in the title game against the Cardinals. This was the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third win against the Cardinals this season, as they swept the regular-season series.
Oswego State will await word from the NCAA selection committee on when and where it will play when the national tournament bracket is released at NCAA.com on Sunday at 6 p.m. Plattsburgh will wait to see if it receives one of the three at-large bids for the 11-team tournament.