UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The nationally-ranked No. 8 Utica College men's hockey team lost 5-3 to nationally-ranked No. 10 Oswego State in a non-conference match-up of top ten teams in front of a sold out crowd (3,815) at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday night.
The Pioneers record moved to 10-2-2 overall as Oswego won the regular season series 1-0-1. Oswego is unbeaten in its last seven outings and improved to 9-2-2 overall on the year. Kenny Neil led the way for the Lakers as he tallied three points on one goal and two assists. The Pioneers were led by two points, one goal and one assist, from senior forward Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)).
With the score set at 3-2 in favor of the visitors headed into the third period, the Lakers were able to punch home the first two goals of the final stanza, to take a 5-2 lead and essentially seal the win. Utica senior Jordan Hobaica (Clinton, NY/Northwood School) cut UC's deficit to 5-3 with 3:18 left in the contest, but that was as close as the Pioneers would get as they lost by a two goal margin.
Oswego skated to a 2-1 first period lead behind goals from Mike Montagna and Brandon Adams. Montagna's power-play goal gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead 8:17 into the first period. Utica answered back in the 16th minute when senior forward Adam Graff (Bear, DE/Syracuse Stars (EJHL)) tipped home the game-tying goal, assisted by classmate Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)) and Mike Slowikowski (Ewing, NJ/N.J. Hitmen (EJHL)), to tie the score at 1-1 at the 16:42 marker. Just 17 seconds later, Oswego's Brandon Adams dumped a puck on net and it took an unusual hop over the blocker of UC freshman goalie Marcus Zelzer (Green Bay, WI/Kenai River (NAHL)) to put the Lakers' on top 2-1.
Oswego extended its lead to 3-1 on the power-play midway through the second period, but the Pioneers answered once again, this time short-handed, just over two minutes later. UC's Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)) tallied the short-hander, at the 15:29 mark of the second period, to set the score at 3-2 in favor of the Lakers.
Zelzer finished the evening with 33 saves in net for the Pioneers, while his counterpart, Zawadzki improved to 6-0-2 on the year as he made 22 saves in net for the Lakers. Oswego outshot Utica 38-25 on the evening and went 3-for-5 on the power-play to earn the victory.
Utica still holds a 3-2-1 advantage over Oswego in their last six meetings. The Lakers, however, own the all-time series advantage with a 12-6-1 record in 19 meetings against the Pioneers.
The Pioneers return to action on the road next Saturday night when they take on The College at Brockport in a non-conference contest that is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.