OSWEGO — The Oswego State men’s hockey team dropped three spots in the national rankings after a weekend series against Brockport State and SUNY Geneseo.
The Lakers will travel to face Hobart College at “The Cooler” Friday for another test against a nationally-ranked team. The Statesmen are ranked fourth in the nation in Division III. Last season, Hobart ended the Lakers’ season in the NCAA Division III Tournament quarterfinal round in March in a 3-2 Statesmen win at the Marano Campus Center Arena.
“We remember that (game). It’s still fresh in all of our minds,” captain Josh Zizek said. “We’ve played in their barn before. We know what to expect.”
Following a 4-1 win over Brockport during the team’s Teddy Bear Toss, the Lakers were on the losing side of a 9-1 rout against Geneseo last Saturday.
In that game, Oswego State had 88 penalty minutes, not including the four game misconducts earned by Anthony Passero, Tanner Spink, Joseph Molinaro and Carter Allen.
“We certainly addressed it. We don’t feel good about what happened,” Oswego State head coach Ed Gosek said. “As much as we’re disappointed in the score, I’m more disappointed in our inability to control our emotions.”
Early in the week, Gosek had not heard about any possible suspensions for any players during the game, but hoped to hear by the middle of the week. It is the league’s protocol to review any misconducts, Gosek said.
Seven of the Knights’ nine goals were on the man-advantage. Two of Tyson Empey’s three goals were on the power play, and both of Matthew Doran’s and Devin Brink’s scores were on the man-advantage, as well.
Mitch Emerson was the only Laker able to find the back of the net at 18:41 of the third period.
“You look at the penalty killing, and you can’t really say it was system-based as much as it was a breakdown of individual responsibilities,” Gosek said. “Saturday night, we made a few adjustments to take away what we felt were the strengths. The goals didn’t come from those areas. The goals came from up top.”
Both goaltenders played during the weekend. David Richer, however, was the starter in each game. He made 21 saves in the Friday matchup. Just a day later, he was pulled after allowing seven goals on 31 shots. Cedric Hansen allowed two goals on four shots in 11:41 of relief during the third period.
Zizek mentioned that the team “has got to help them out,” especially with all the pressure both goaltenders faced during the game against Geneseo.
“A couple of Geneseo’s shots, you can’t fault the goalie. You’ve got to have some blocked shots,” he said. “When it comes down to it, if the goalies need to have a save, we have full confidence that they will make that save. But, we’ve got to help them out by blocking shots and getting pucks out.”
While Hobart does not have as strong of a power play as Geneseo does, only with an 11.5 percent success rate, giving any team 12 opportunities with man-advantage makes a game a lot more difficult.
The Statesmen have scored 25 goals in their last four games, including a 9-0 win over Johnson and Wales University Nov. 8, and an 8-3 over Castleton University Saturday. They also fell in a close 2-1 game to top-ranked Norwich University Saturday.
“It’s another good test to see what we’re made of and see how we can bounce back,” Gosek said. “It’s not even just the winning and losing. (It’s about) how do we respond physically, mentally and emotionally, especially after the Geneseo game.”
All 24 players have registered at least one point for the Statesmen, with Lawson MacDougall leading the team with nine points. Brenden Howell has four goals on the season.
Sophomore Joe Halstrom has played and started in all six games for Hobart. He has a 1.98 goals against average with a .910 save percentage. He only played in three games last season.
“Hobart is a very good team. They’re one of the best teams in their league,” Gosek said. “(The Cooler) is not an easy building to play in. It’ll be a great test for us.”