OSWEGO — Following two goals and an assist from Max Novick, the No. 6 Oswego State men’s hockey team grabbed its first conference game over SUNY Cortland in a 6-3 victory Friday night.
Also tallying goals for the Lakers were Mitch Emerson, Jody Sullivan, Colton Fletcher and Tyson Kirkby. The goal from Fletcher was his first collegiate goal. Emerson also tacked on two assists for a three-point night.
David Richer stopped 26 shots and allowed the three goals, two of which came late in the third period.
Connor Beck, Logan Blaser and Jacob Gaydos had a goal apiece for Cortland. Sean Perichak notched two assists, while Louis DiMatteo chipped in an assist. Goalie Nick Modica made 47 saves.
“We just stopped playing defensively,” Oswego State head coach Ed Gosek said. “It was more awareness in our defensive zone. Giving up too much time to make plays and find open guys. We gave up too many opportunities.”
Gosek highlighted Richer after a strong offensive effort from SUNY Cortland in the second half of the third period, making several saves with a shot from the Red Dragons right in the slot, some of which were just inches from Richer, who made 12 saves in the third period alone.
Oswego State’s defense “got lax” in its coverage around the eight-minute mark of the third period, according to Gosek. He also mentioned that the defense got stuck on the ice and couldn’t make certain plays.
“(Richer) tracked the puck well. His rebound control was very good,” he said. “In a game where you’re on top like that, we shouldn’t be giving up our defensive positioning.”
Another spot lacking for the Lakers was on special teams. While the penalty kill finished all four opportunities unscathed, the power-play units weren’t able to score on its three chances. Gosek mentioned that he saw improvement, after 11 shots on net in those three opportunities and a lot more movement.
With the lack of penalties, Oswego State’s discipline was better, as well. Most of the penalties were “hard working” penalties, Gosek said. The only debatable penalty related to discipline was Carter Allen’s cross checking penalty at 19:27.
“I thought it was much better. We had one bad body language (penalty) in the game,” Gosek said. “I didn’t think there was any unnecessary stick penalties in the offensive zone. There was nothing from laziness or undisciplined attitudes.”
Novick’s three-point effort puts him back on track to lead scoring by a defenseman for the Lakers once again. He led the blue-liners in points both his freshman year with 11 points and his sophomore year with 21 points.
With the addition of Division-I transfer Carson Vance, who is also an offensive-minded defenseman, Gosek said the two players add a good dynamic to Oswego State’s roster. Vance made a big block in the second period when Richer was caught out of position, stopping the puck from entering a wide-open net.
“(Vance) adds another dimension to the team. We’ll continue to work with him,” Gosek said. “They both have the skating ability to get in (the offensive zone) and get back out. I certainly thought Novick was solid tonight.”
Oswego State (1-0 overall, 1-0 SUNY Athletic Conference) earned two league points with the victory. The Lakers are now tied with The College at Brockport for first place in the league as of Friday night. SUNY Cortland (0-1, 0-1 SUNYAC) will take on non-conference Skidmore College today.
The Lakers’ next game will be the start of the Whiteout Weekend, as they host Plattsburgh State (0-1-0, 0-1-0 SUNYAC) Friday, and SUNY Potsdam (0-0-1, 0-0-1 SUNYAC) next Saturday.
“You want to get off to a good start at home. I’m pleased on the offensive side, not pleased on the defensive side,” Gosek said. “I thought we made some steps in the right direction. We’ll start correcting them tomorrow in practice and get ourselves prepared for next weekend.”