OSWEGO, N.Y. – Paul Rodrigues scored with 4.4 seconds remaining to pull the second-ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (8-2-0) to within one goal, but it came up short in a 3-2 loss to ninth-ranked Utica (8-2-0) on Friday night.
In a fast paced first period with few whistles, Utica dealt the first blow at the 3:22 mark when Peter LaFosse scored on a pass through the crease from Adam Graff as LaFosse was crashing to the net. LaFosse lifted the puck over Andrew Hare’s (Sr., Burlington, Ontario) pad as he was sliding from across from right to left. Trever Hertz was also credited with the assist on LaFosse’s second goal of the season.
The Pioneers held the lead until the ninth minute when Zach Josepher’s (Sr., Wantagh, N.Y.) blast from the left point was deflected in front of the net by Kyle Badham (Jr., Oakville, Ontario) past Utica goalie Nick Therrien.
Both squads went back-and-forth until late in the stanza when Louis Educate got behind the Oswego State defense as the Pioneers were transitioning out of their defensive zone. He wristed a shot from the right circle to the far side of the goal to put Utica ahead, 2-1, with 18.9 seconds left on the clock.
The second period went by in a similar fashion as the first. The Lakers nearly evened the score midway through the frame when the Pioneers were called for elbowing. Oswego State had several quality looks at the net, but the shots either went wide or were blocked. The home team went on the power play again later in the period, but came up empty once again. Hare closed out the period with a series of solid saves to maintain a one-goal contest at intermission.
Early in the third period, Hare stonewalled a short-handed breakaway and followed that up with a nifty glove save seconds later to keep the Lakers within striking distance. As the stanza wore on, Utica began to pack it tighter inside the slot defensively, making it difficult for Oswego State to get shots off and passes across ice.
The Lakers pulled Hare with 49.6 seconds left in regulation, but the puck was misplayed at the blue line leading to Utica’s Rob Morton winning a foot race to the loose puck, tapping it into the empty net with 33.3 seconds on the clock. The Pioneers then called timeout.
Oswego State won the ensuing faceoff and carried the puck into the offensive end, allowing Hare to skate back to the bench a second time. The move paid off as Paul Rodrigues (Sr., Etobicoke, Ontario) buried a rebound in front of the net after a Denton King (Fr., Pense, Saskatchewan) slap shot with 4.4 seconds to play. It was the Lakers’ turn to call timeout, but Utica won the faceoff to end the game.
Neither team capitalized on power plays, as Oswego State went 0-for-4 and Utica went 0-for-2. Hare compiled 30 saves, while Therrien stopped 29 shots.
The loss marked the first time since December 11 and 30, 2010 that the Lakers lost back-to-back games. Oswego State fell to Hobart, 5-2, followed by a 5-1 loss to Hamilton.
The Lakers travel to Hobart for 7 p.m. game against the fourth-ranked Statesmen.