OSWEGO, N.Y. – Jon Whitelaw (Jr., Huntsville, Ont.) registered a natural hat trick to lead the second-ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team (19-2-2, 12-0-2 SUNYAC) past Buffalo State, 4-1, Saturday night at the Campus Center Ice Arena. The Bengals (11-11-2, 7-7-1 SUNYAC) scored the game’s first goal, but the Lakers responded by posting four unanswered goals for the victory.
Next weekend the Lakers host Plattsburgh and Potsdam during the annual White-Out weekend. General public tickets are sold out for Friday’s Plattsburgh game, but limited tickets are still available for Saturday’s contest against the Bears. SUNY Oswego student tickets for both weekend games are available Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1-4 p.m. at the Campus Center Box Office.
After a scoreless first period, it was Buffalo State that struck the first blow at 6:46 in the second period when Eric Bajc stepped up at the blue line to keep a Laker clearing attempt in the zone. Bajc put a shot on goal, which was stopped by Andrew Hare (Jr., Burlington, Ont.), but the rebound landed on Justin Knee’s stick for the easy goal.
Momentum seemed to tilt in Buffalo State’s favor until Muise chased down a puck along the near boards, and sent the puck into the slot. Leimbrock made a diving stab to get his stick on puck as he was in the process of being hooked, but got just enough of it to even the score at 13:08.
Thirty seconds later, Oswego State made the Bengals pay for the penalty assessed at the end of Leimbrock’s goal, when Whitelaw wristed a shot top shelf from the left faceoff circle over Kevin Carr’s glove. Assists were credited to Chris Ayotte (Jr., Cornwall, Ont.) and Jesse McConney (Jr., Barrie, Ont.) on the play that gave the Lakers their first lead of the game at 2-1.
In the third period, both squads continued to push the tempo until Oswego State went on the power play at 9:31 following a Bengal boarding penalty. Whitelaw capitalized again when he ripped a shot top shelf, glove side after splitting the defense to reach a two-line pass from Ayotte’s stick. Hare earned his second assist of the season when he came out of the crease move the puck up to Ayotte.
Buffalo State went on the power play late in the third period, and nearly cut its deficit in half when Trevor McKinney hit the pipe. The Bengals pulled Carr with 1:04 left to increase the pressure resulting in three shots on goal, including Justin Knee’s shot that hit the pipe, but Hare and the Oswego State defense were up to the challenge in keeping the visitors off the scoreboard.
Whitelaw completed his natural hat trick with an empty-net goal with 19.4 seconds to remaining to seal the win, as Moodie and Rodrigues were awarded assists on the play.
Special teams were an important part of the Laker win, as the home team went 2-for-5 with the extra skater compared to Buffalo State, which went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Hare posted 28 saves, including 13 in the final period, to improve to 16-2-2 on the season. Carr ended the contest with 37 saves in the losing effort.