Men's Ice Hockey Overcomes Early Deficit For 8-5 Win Over Morrisville; Faces Plattsburgh In SUNYAC ChampionshipThe No. 2 nationally ranked Oswego State men’s ice hockey team erased a three-goal deficit to come back for an 8-5 win over Morrisville in the SUNYAC Semifinals on Saturday night at the Campus Center Arena. The Lakers trailed 3-0 in the first ten minutes of the game, but charged back behind a hat trick from freshman Tyler Leimbrock and two goals from senior Neil Musselwhite. Oswego State, which improved to 24-2-0 overall, will face Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC Championship game on Saturday, March 6 at 7 p.m. in Oswego. The Mustangs finished the season at 9-17-0.
Morrisville put up the game’s first goal after a rare Oswego State turnover in the defensive zone resulted in Chris Cerbino (Fr., Highland, N.Y.) flipping a backhand above Laker goaltender Kyle Gunn-Taylor (Sr., West Seneca, N.Y.) at 7:50. Minutes later, Oswego State caught Morrisville in a line change creating a 4-on-1 rush, but Mustang goalie Caylin Relkoff (Jr., Grand Forks, B.C.) made two saves to keep the Lakers off of the board. The Mustangs charged the other way, as Gunn-Taylor stopped Dave Shultz’s (Jr., Trucksville, Pa.) shot, but Geoff Matzel (So., Chittenango, N.Y.) was there to cleanup the rebound to put Morrisville ahead 2-0 at 8:47 in the first period.
The Mustangs kept their momentum going after a Laker tripping penalty near the midway point of the frame. Morrisville’s Andrew Alarie (Sr., Carlisle, Ont.) won the ensuing face-off, feeding the puck back to Bobby Cass, who snuck a shot through traffic and into the back of the net. The goal resulted in Coach Ed Gosek making a goaltending switch replacing Gunn-Taylor with Paul Beckwith (So., Cleveland, Ohio).
Oswego State got on the scoreboard at 12:53 when Tyler Leimbrock (Fr., Bolton, Ont.) was in position to pound home the rebound after a Neil Musselwhite (Sr., Burlington, Ont.) shot. Brad Dormiedy (Sr., Ajax, Ont.) also earned an assist on the play. The Lakers cut the deficit in half minutes later when Dormiedy played the puck from behind the net to Musselwhite, who was sitting in front of the crease, for the tap-in goal to make the score 3-2 at the first intermission.
Morrisville regained its two-goal advantage at 1:02 in the second when Johnathan Cristini (So., Mississauga, Ont.) picked up the puck in neutral territory. He broke free of the Oswego State defense for an uncontested shot to make the score 4-2 in favor of Morrisville. The Lakers responded quickly, though, when Tyler Leimbrock netted his second goal of the game at 3:18 when his slap shot from the slot went over Relkoff’s glove into the top left corner of the net. Leimbrock completed the hat trick at the end of the frame when he deflected in a blast by Kevin Huinink (Jr., Whitby, Ont.) from the left point to send the teams into the locker room knotted at 4-4.
The Mustangs started the third period with a skater-advantage, but Neil Musselwhite beat two Morrisville defenders to the puck after causing the turnover for the breakaway. His shot got past Relkoff giving Oswego State its first lead of the game 27 seconds into the stanza for his sixth short-handed goal of the season.
Jon Whitelaw (Fr., Huntsville, Ont.) gave the Lakers a 6-4 edge when Relkoff came out of the crease to play the puck. Whitelaw caused enough of a disruption to get control of the puck for the empty-net goal forcing Morrisville to call timeout with 8:27 left in the game.
Oswego State later capitalized on its eighth power-play chance of the game when Eric Selleck (So., Spencerville, Ont.) posted his 21st goal of the season after receiving a feed from Justin Fox (Jr., Whitby, Ont.) and Chris Laganiere (Jr., Owego, N.Y.) to go ahead 7-4. However, Morrisville was not done as Tom Longland (So., Dunnville, Ont.) posted his sixth goal of year with three minutes remaining. Huinink sealed victory for the Lakers when he scored an empty-net, short-handed goal at 19:00.
Oswego State’s Paul Beckwith earned his eighth win of the season by making 16 saves in the final 50:17 of the game. Caylin Relkoff stopped 32 of the 39 shots he faced. Both teams struggled on the power play as the Lakers went 1-for-8 and the Mustangs went 1-for-5 and allowed two short-handed goals.
Tickets for the SUNYAC championship game will be available for SUNY Oswego students and current season ticket holders on Monday, Mar. 1 at the Campus Center Box Office. Season ticket holders and students will receive ticket priority through the end of the day on Tuesday, Mar. 2, while tickets will be made available to the general public on Wednesday, Mar. 3.
Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $3 for SUNY Oswego students with college ID. Students that purchase tickets in advance will be entered into a drawing for three pairs of all-session passes at the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championships in Lake Placid on March 19-20. Students must be present to win and have SUNY Oswego ID to claim the prize. The Campus Center Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at (315) 312-3073.
Story and Pictures Courtesy of Oswego State Sports Information