By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — OSWEGO — The puck hit Jared Docking’s skate in front of the net, and he knew that meant trouble.
“I felt it, and then I looked back and I saw it trickle in,” the Plattsburgh forward said. “There was only a couple minutes left (in the second period). So we just dug a bigger hole for ourselves and couldn’t get out of it.”
The goal by Luke Moodie gave Oswego a 2-0 lead in what Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery called a “huge turning point” in Saturday’s SUNY Athletic Conference men’s ice hockey championship game. The top-seeded Lakers built on that lead in the third and claimed a 4-0 victory at the Campus Center Ice Arena.
Along with the conference title, Oswego (23-4) clinched the SUNYAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. The field will be announced at 10 p.m. today, and the Cardinals (19-7-1) don’t expect to get in.
“No, we don’t have any shot at the NCAAs,” Emery said. “We don’t deserve to play. For the first semester, we lacked a lot of leadership. And I think a lot of that is the younger guys we had, but there’s no excuse.”
Moodie’s goal came at 18:29 of the second when the Lakers had an exra attacker during a delayed penalty. Uncharacteristically, penalties were a problem for the second-seeded Cardinals. They took six through two periods Saturday. “I don’t think we played too smart (Saturday),” Emery said.
“We got beat up the ice on the first goal, gave up a 3-on-2. And then we got two too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties. We did a good job on the penalty kill, but we’re on the road and the biggest way to give a team momentum is to get in the penalty box. “We got in penalty trouble early. We had more penalties in the first period than we’ve had for our average all year.”
Moodie netted his second of the night 7:54 into the third period for a 3-0 cushion. The Cardinals went on the power play with 10:15 left in the period and pulled their goalie shortly after to try to get some offense going. Mathieu Cadieux stayed out of the net after the penalty expired, and Jon Whitelaw scored an empty-netter. Andrew Hare made 30 saves for the shutout and was named the tournament’s MVP. Whitelaw and Chris Brown each had two points.
Cadieux stopped a point-blank shot in the middle of the first period. Then with just over five minutes left, Tyler Leimbrock came in on the rush and found the back of the net for a 1-0 edge.
The Cardinals had a great chance with just under nine minutes left in the second, but Andrew Hare reached out and grabbed the puck just before it crossed the goal line. Nick Jensen came flying in and forced Hare to make a good stop a few minutes later. Then at the other end, Moodie scored the game-changer. The Lakers earned their first championship since 2010. They lost to Plattsburgh twice in the regular season, and coach Ed Gosek said they played better in the third meeting.
“I won’t say we called (the players) out, but somthing had to change. We had to be better,” Gosek said. In the other matchups “it wasn’t that we were poor, but the little things, the blocking shots, the winning the battles, I thought we did a much better job than we did up in (Plattsburgh) a couple weeks ago.”
Cadieux had 29 saves for Plattsburgh. Docking and defenseman Mike Grace made the All-Tournament Team.
“Just a rough night,” Docking said. “We just didn’t play smart. It was our Achilles’ heel all year. And it
cost us today.”
Oswego 4, Plattsburgh 0
Plattsburgh 0 0 0 — 0
Oswego 1 1 2 — 4
First period- 1, Osw, Leimbrock (Titanic, Singleton), 15:12. Penalties: Plattsburgh (too many players), 5:33. Brenton, PSU (diving), 7:40. Carr, Osw (tripping), 11:45. Smith, PSU (charging), 15:56. Badham, Osw (elbowing), 18:33.
Second period- 2, Osw, Moodie (Brown, Whitelaw), 18:29 (ex). Penalties: Rivait, Osw (tripping), 10:07. Roytman, PSU (holding), 13:11. Plattsburgh (too many players), 18:29. Gertsakis, Osw (interference), 19:38. Docking, PSU (slashing), 20:00. Farris, Osw (roughing), 20:00.
Third period- 3, Osw, Moodie (Muise, Brown), 7:54. 4, Osw, Whitelaw (Rodrigues, McConney), 13:59 (en).
Shots on goal:
Plattsburgh 5 11 14 — 30
Oswego 10 14 9 — 33
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Cadieux, PSU, 32-29. Hare, Osw, 30-30.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Plattsburgh 0-7, Oswego 0-6.
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