OSWEGO, N.Y. – The top-ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (22-3-2) nearly erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, but fourth-ranked Plattsburgh (19-4-4) held on to hand the Lakers a 3-2 loss in the State University of New York Athletic Conference Championship game Saturday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena.
The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for Oswego State, and was the first loss to the Cardinals since March 7, 2008 in the SUNYAC title game.
After a fast first period that saw no scoring and just one penalty, Jon Whitelaw (Jr., Huntsville, Ont.) scored his 19th goal of the season 30 seconds into a two-skater advantage for Oswego State following Cardinal hooking and cross-checking penalties. Paul Rodrigues (Jr., Etobicoke, Ont.) assisted the play at the 9:15 mark in the second period.
Plattsburgh evened the score before the end of the frame when it lit the lamp 21 seconds into an Oswego State tripping penalty. Nick Jensen and Paul Puglisi found Jared Docking for his seventh marker of the year at 18:49, as both teams went into the locker rooms locked at 1-1.
Cardinal defenseman Mike Grace put the visitors ahead 4:33 into the third period followed almost four minutes later by Nick Jensen’s ninth goal of the season to put Plattsburgh ahead 3-1.
On the subsequent faceoff, the Lakers cut their deficit in half when Kyle Badham (So., Oakville, Ont.) got the puck past Plattsburgh goaltender Mathieu Cadieux with 11:27 remaining in regulation.
Oswego State went on the power play late in the frame, but were denied. However, the Lakers continued to apply pressure in their offensive zone once the teams returned to full strength. Oswego State had two shots blocked in the waning moments and nearly sent the game into overtime, but a shot by David Titanic (So., Markham, Ont.) careened off the pipe to preserve the win for Plattsburgh.
Laker goalie Andrew Hare (Jr., Burlington, Ont.) posted 24 saves in the losing effort, while Cadieux finished the game with 15 saves.
The NCAA Division III Men’s Hockey Tournament field and brackets will be released during a selection show at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday at NCAA.com. Check out the Oswgeo State Athletics website after that time to see if and/or when the Lakers will compete in the NCAA Tournament. Plattsburgh earned the SUNYAC’s automatic bid by virtue of winning the conference title.