Blue Devils comeback falls short to Oswego 5-4

Entering the third period with a two goal deficit, the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils attempt to battle back fell just short, as they fell to the Oswego State Lakers 5-4 on Saturday night.

The Blue Devils, trailing 4-2 entering the final frame were able to cut the deficit back to a one goal lead, after Jasper Korican-Barley was able to bury it on a mad scramble in front of the net. Now only trailing one, the Blue Devils continue to scrape and claw, battling to get the game’s equalizer, when with just three minutes to go in the game, Blue Devil forward Ryan Dunner banked the puck off the wall to himself, got into the Laker back-line, and buried it past Oswego goalie David Richer, finally knotting the game at four. Fredonia coach Jeff Meredith was proud of his team’s effort, especially given that starting goaltender Anton Rosen was forced to leave with a concussion entering the third. .

“I’m proud of my guys on how they battled back,” said Meredith. “Being down two going into the third against a good hockey team is tough. Our starting goalie came out with a concussion to start the third, but our guys keep working, battling, and persevering. We tie it with two to go, and that’s all good stuff.”

Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, some unforeseen circumstances would interrupt their comeback effort, both of their own making, and those out of their control.

“I thought we had a lapse after how it went 2-1 us, to 4-2 them,” Meredith said.

The clock was under a minute, when there was a face-off deep in Laker territory, when the refs threw out the Fredonia center. The Laker center cross checked the Fredonia center in the back of the neck, which pushed him down to the dot. This somehow amassed to a Fredonia penalty, giving the Lakers a shot. With Antonio Demacopoulos in the penalty box for a controversial roughing call, the Lakers make no mistake on the ensuing power play.

“They throw the puck at the net and it goes in, and we’re back where we were,” Meredith said.

Right off the face off, Laker forward Anthony Passero got the puck back to his defenseman Max Novick, who let it go from the high slot, when his teammate Tyson Kirkby tipped it in right in front of the net, being in the right place at the right time.

Despite the controversial call, the Blue Devils had a couple mistakes that cost them right out of the gate.

With a little under two minutes elapsed in the first period, the Blue Devils mishandled a puck in their own end. Oswego’s Derek Brown was lurking nearby when he picked up the puck and beat Rosen glove-side to give the Lakers an early 1-0 lead.

The Blue Devils battled right back in the first, as Laker defenseman Carter Allen laid a check at center ice that was deemed a hit to the head, causing him to get ejected from the game, giving the Blue Devils a five minute shot with the man advantage, and giving the game a chippy nature for the remainder of the time. The Blue Devils were able to capitalize when Victor Tracy beat Richer to tie it at one. Fredonia would score again just three minutes later, as Jacob Haynes found another hole by Richer to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Lakers struck again early in the second, as Passero forced a Blue Devil turnover, then walked in on a break away. Rosen was able to stop the shot, but was forced out of position as the puck came right outside the goal crease where Lakers’ senior forward Jody Sullivan was waiting in front of an open net, evening the score at two.

Just a couple minutes later, Joey Scorpio buried another one for the Lakers. Fredonia’s Tanner Kahlau was stoned by Richer on a breakaway, when the Lakers came back the other way and Scorpio buried the pass of a two on one rush. The Blue Devils had a chance to break up the rush, but just missed as the Lakers carried the puck into the zone. These mistakes would prove costly to the Blue Devils.

“We gave away some easy chances for Oswego tonight,” Meredith said. “The first goal was just a couple minutes in, then bang bang in the second. We try a hitch and they pick it off, then boom, then we miss a stick and boom, we’re trailing.”

Passero would find nylon one more time for the Lakers before the second period ended, leading to Fredonia falling just short after a good comeback effort. The Blue Devils (2-6-3) hung tight with the Lakers (7-3) but as they have found trouble doing all season, came up just short in the win. Despite that, Meredith has been proud of his team’s effort on the season, as they have dropped many close games on the season.

“We had a challenging semester with wins,” Meredith said. “But yet here we are on December 7, and they keep persevering and battling. There are a lot of good things going on.”

Fredonia has one last game before the Fall semester break, against Chatham in Steele Hall on Saturday, Dec. 14. The game will be the team’s Teddy Bear toss.

“We’re asking people to bring a new Teddy Bear,” Meredith said. “When we score our first goal of the game, they’ll toss the bears on the ice, all the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls club of Dunkirk.”

With the break coming, Meredith knows his guys have a lot of work to do on finals, meaning it’ll be a lighter week of practice going into Saturday’s game.

“I can’t really pinpoint anything to improve on right now,” Meredith said. “It’s a tough time of year for student athletes, there’s a lot going on. We’ll do our best to shorten the practice week and just get ready for Chatham.”