Blue Devils fall to Lakers in SUNYAC hockey playoffs

OSWEGO – Fredonia State rallied twice, but was unable do it a third time Wednesday, as the Blue Devils fell to the Oswego Lakers, 3-2, in the first round of the SUNYAC men’s hockey tournament.

Alex Perkins and Brian Doust had the Fredonia State goals and Jeff Flagler made 38 saves, including two breakaways. The loss ended the Blue Devils’ season at 7-13-6 while the Lakers, ranked No. 12 nationally, improved to 18-6-2 and advanced to a semifinal game Saturday at Plattsburgh.

Mike Montagna, Andrew Barton and Matt Galati scored the Oswego goals. Galati’s game-winner came at the 7:04 mark of the third period. Oswego goaltender Matt Zawadzki made 19 saves.

Down 1-0 on Montagna’s goal, the Blue Devils managed their first extended offensive push during their first power-play chance of the game. Zawadzki turned aside one shot from close range and another Blue Devil shot deflected off the skate of an Oswego defender, preventing the game-tying goal.

The Blue Devils went on their second power-play midway through the second period – and it was a turning point at the time. Flagler stopped Oswego’s Krystian Yorke on a breakaway on what could have been a short-handed goal by the Lakers. That gave Fredonia State some momentum.

The Blue Devils regrouped and evened the score at 1-1 when Perkins, skating from the right point across to the opposite face-off circle, fired a shot short side through a screen at 9:56 of the second period. It was his seventh goal of the season. Taylor Bourne and Cory Melkert were credited with assists.

Barton put Oswego back on top, 2-1, with a hard, rising shot as he skated down the left wing. Doust then made it 2-2 at 19:19 of the second when he tapped in a rebound of a shot by Mitch Kaufmann, who was free in the slot after taking a pass from below the goal line from Stephen Castriota. It was Doust’s second goal of the season.

Flagler made his second sprawling stop early in the third period after an Oswego forward got behind a fallen Blue Devil defenseman. The Blue Devils nearly took the lead when a wide-angle shot by Andrew Christ rebounded to a teammate, who feathered a shot past Zawadzki, only to see the puck deflect off the far post.

Galati’s goal came after he and his teammates zig-zagged a series of passes through the Fredonia State defense. Flagler was unable to slide back across to cover the shot from the left faceoff dot. With Flagler pulled for an extra attacker, a back-hander by Ryan Wilkinson sailed over the top of the net. It was the last good chance the Blue Devils created.