OSWEGO — Led by Ike Calverase’s hat trick, the Oswego varsity boys hockey team defeated Batavia-Notre Dame of Section V, 5-1, Friday in its home opener at Crisafulli Rink.
“We beat a good Batavia team tonight,” Oswego head coach Kevin Ahern said.
Nick Burnett and Jake Lenahan each chipped in a goal for the Buccaneers. Ryan Bartlett, Lucas Shepardson, Mark Jones, Adam Michalski and Carson Colucci had an assist apiece. Between the pipes, Brandon Demling made 13 saves.
For the Irish, Max Hutchins notched the lone goal. Jed Reese and Alex Totten each had an assist. Goaltender Alex Hunt stopped 29 shots.
In the first period, Notre Dame drew first blood. Alex Hunt maneuvered the puck past Demling 22 seconds into the period to give the Irish a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later at 3:41, however, the Bucs were able to answer back. Calverase recorded his first goal of the game by stuffing the puck into the net, tying the score up at 1-1 in the process.
At 10:11, helped out by an assist from Bartlett, Calverase’s second goal came when he slipped the puck under Hunt’s legs.
Heading into the first intermission, Oswego had a 2-1 lead.
The second period saw the Bucs becoming more aggressive with their shots and dominating possession. At 5:41, the dominance came into play when Burnett tallied his first-career goal, bumping the Oswego advantage to 3-1.
Ahern gave praise to Demling for keeping the Bucs in the matchup, due in part to his strong goaltending effort.
“He made some saves that kept us in it at that point,” Ahern said. “We were able to take over after that.”
Oswego’s strong offense carried into the third period. Calverase completed his three-goal showcase with a score at 1:01, padding the Buc lead at 4-1.
“He’s a fabulous all-around player,” Ahern said of Calverase. “He’s so smart and has his head in the game (all the time).”
Ahern added that the first line of Calverase, Frank Winchek and Bartlett “could cause problems for opposing teams this season,” and is looking forward to seeing the trio develop throughout the campaign.
“Those guys (along with Ike) are going to be very good this year,” Ahern said. “If they move the puck, they’ll be a difficult line for everyone to deal with.”
Lenahan completed Oswego’s scoring effort a little over a minute later with a goal at 12:52.
Despite a solid performance from the Buc offense, Ahern was hoping to see more from the defensive zone, saying it was “sloppy at times.”
Ahern also mentioned how he can see the development of his team “take off” as the season progresses.
“We showed a glimmer of what we’re capable of,” he said. “I just think we were a stride or pass off here and there. There’s a ton of growth and potential.”
The defensive showing from Oswego didn’t shake Demling’s night in goal, clearing Notre Dame’s goal from his mind, bouncing back and buckling down for a slew of clutch saves that stifled the opposing team’s shot opportunities.
“He’s been playing very well,” Ahern said. “You hope he reacts well (after the first goal) and he did. He shook it off and made some fabulous saves.”
Oswego (1-0) faces Churchville-Chili (1-0), another Section V opponent, Saturday on the road. The puck drops at 5:15 p.m.
The Saints defeated Brockport, 3-1, in their season opener on Tuesday.
“It’s going be a great test on the road,” Ahern said. “That team is good and they have a line that is the best anyone will see this year. It’s a great warm-up before we get into league play.”