OSWEGO — The Oswego varsity boys hockey team ended its regular season with a 7-1 loss to Skaneateles at the Anthony J. Crisafulli Rink Wednesday evening.
The Bucs recognized Oswego native Rick Pratt before the game. Pratt has been a hockey official since 1976. Wednesday’s game was his final one before he retires. His son was also on the officiating crew for the game.
After a speech about his career, players from both sides lined up at center ice to shake his hand and thank him.
Oswego coach Kevin Ahern added that Pratt “has been a pillar of the community for minor hockey and high school hockey.
“There’s just endless time that he’s donated (over the years),” Ahern said. “The game is going to miss him. It was a nice honor to be coaching and be part of that.”
Even though the happy sentiments didn’t last long following the loss to the Lakers, Oswego at least knows it will be heading to the Section III Division II Tournament. Sectionals start on Feb. 18.
“The results were what they were in the third period,” Ahern said. “We’re all right. We’re heading to sectionals and the guys are excited.”
Oswego’s goal was to finish the first period in a scoreless tie. Goaltender Brandon Demling stopped all eight shots he faced, while the Buccaneers’ defense blocked a slew of shots. The offense only put two shots on net and played defense for a majority of the period.
In the second period, however, Skaneateles opened the scoring 1:23 into the period. Cam Lowe got a shot from the blue line past Demling, with an assist from Jack Henry for a 1-0 Laker lead. The Lakers added two more goals at 9:02 with a shot from Brendan Powers near the circle that went through Demling, and Charlie Russell scored with 7:47 left on a blue-line shot through traffic to bump the score to 3-0.
“They had three deflections in the second period. They weren’t transition goals or goals off of offensive zone play,” Ahern said. “We weren’t really upset about that.”
Skaneateles kept scoring through the third period. Garrett Krieger ripped a shot past Demling in the slot after the Lakers had a three-on-two opportunity with 11:56 left in the third. Charlie Major took a shot in the slot with 8:09 left in regulation to put the Lakers up 5-0.
Jacob Lenahan was able to prevent a shutout by scoring a goal at 10:00 of the third period, which cut the deficit to 5-1. Carson Colucci and Tyler O’Grady picked up assists. Lenahan’s shot went over goaltender Brendan McGowen’s arm.
The Lakers tacked on two more goals with less than five minutes left in the third period. Cole Heintz got a shot past Demling with 4:42 left in the period, followed by Jack Weeks with 3:35 left who tipped shot that went over the Demling’s head.
Demling finished the game with 21 saves in net, while McGowen stopped 11 shots for Skaneateles. Ahern mentioned that Demling made “some big saves in the first period” to keep the opening frame scoreless.
“For the most part, Brandon played pretty well. Those deflection goals are tough,” he said. “One went off a knee. It is what it is. I thought he hung in there toward the end.”
The Bucs (11-9) have completed their regular season and will wait their final seeding for sectionals. Oswego will likely face Clinton or Cortland-Homer for the opening game, two teams the Bucs have split series with.
“We’re going to work pretty hard Friday with some system stuff,” Ahern said. “We’ll definitely get after it on Tuesday night.”
The Bucs are looking to extend their season as they head into the playoffs.
“It’s nice when guys who haven’t scored a bunch are in on a goal,” Ahern said. “That’s what we just talked about. We’re just excited to go into a playoff game and extend their careers.”