OSWEGO — Another installing of the great Oswego State-Plattsburgh State rivalry has come and gone.
And this time, the Oswego State men’s hockey team came out with a 5-1 win on Friday, with goaltender Cal Schell picking up his first collegiate win in his first collegiate start.
After stopping just three shots in the first period, Schell made 12 second-period saves and 13 third-period saves en route to the 28-save win.
“I thought he blocked out the first-game jitters or nerves well. He tracked the puck well, too,” head coach Ed Gosek said. “I don’t know if I can really fault him on the goal (Plattsburgh) got. For his first start, we’re pleased.”
It was a generally quiet first period until Matt McQuade got things started for the Lakers. After getting the puck below the goal line, went in front of the slot and put an awkward backhand shot on net.
The puck got past Kyle Alaverdy at 15:41 of the first period, and McQuade didn’t even realize it, forcing a little delayed celebration. Nonetheless, the freshman celebrated his first collegiate goal.
Gosek called the first period “very smart and calculated” by the Lakers.
“We took what they gave us in the first period. I thought we had to chip a lot of pucks in,” he said. “Their neutral zone defense was very good, clogging up the middle. You have to be patient. We were patient, McQuade gets an opportunity and gives us the lead to take a little pressure of so we weren’t pressing things.”
Linemate Thomas Rocco, who recorded an assist on McQuade’s goal, entered the Plattsburgh defensive zone on a two-on-one with Connor Sleeth. The latter had the puck and found a streaking Rocco up the middle, who got a snap shot past Alaverdy and hit the top of the at 8:10 of the second period to make it 2-0 Lakers.
The goal was Rocco’s first collegiate goal, as well, after a few years at Division I St. Cloud State University.
“They moved their feet. Their speed, their quickness, they played well,” Gosek said.
Shane Bull tacked on one more with 6:50 left in the second period, after he poked the puck to himself in front of the Plattsburgh defense.
“(Plattsburgh) called the timeout, it was very timely on their part,” Gosek said. “From that five-minute mark approximately, they had us back on our heels. Luckily, we bent but we didn’t break.”
Then the physicality the rivalry typically brings came to light, and some penalties came on the board. Ben Addison got a two-minute minor for interference before Mitchell Hale was called for tripping. Both penalties were killed with no goals.
Hale was then called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct, and Troy Robillard picked up a roughing minor penalty at 13:57 of the third period.
“I don’t want to say it was a sloppy third, but it was a very fragmented third period. You really couldn’t get anything going,” Gosek said. “Just a lot of odd plays, then throw in on top of it the penalties at the end of the third. First two periods were clean. Just a lot happening in the third.”
After Sleeth skated into the offensive zone at a wide angle, he took a shot that Alaverdy couldn’t handle cleanly. Ryan Dickinson went right in front and swatted the puck into the back of the net with 5:37 left in the game to make it 4-0.
Plattsburgh got on the board while the Lakers were on a delayed penalty after Riley Sutherland took a shot that hit Schell’s pads and bounced onto the stick of Jack Ring, who hit the wide-open net with 4:32 left in the game.
The Cardinals pulled Alvaredy with just under a minute to go, and Rocco got one final goal in after battling for the puck with Ryan Bonfield. A diving Rocco poked the puck into the empty net to secure the 5-1 victory with 7.3 seconds left in the contest.
“(Plattsburgh) had a lot of energy and pushback. I thought our guys handled it well,” Gosek said. “We learned a lot about some of the guys playing under pressure. That’s a good thing.”
Oswego State (2-1, 1-0 SUNYAC) earned two league points and hosts SUNY Potsdam Saturday at 7 p.m. The Bears (0-2, 0-1 SUNYAC) are coming off a 7-1 loss to SUNY Cortland Friday.
Gosek said the mindset in the quick turnaround will to be sure that the players don’t get “complacent” while continuing to build on discipline and the forecheck.
“I thought a lot of guys ramped it up, and some others struggled. We’ll make some decisions after watching video online, then we’ll move forward,” Gosek said. “Potsdam had a tough go at Cortland tonight. I’m sure they’ll come ready and we’re going to give them our best effort.”