Head coach Bob Emery said the team came out ready to play.
“I thought our first period was our best period of the whole season,” Emery said. “Hats off to their goaltender, he kept us of the board there in the first period because I thought we came out of the locker room and played real well.”
The first period featured both teams playing at full speed and not giving an inch to the other. The Cardinals had an early opportunity with 11:46 remaining in the first period when they got a power play, but the Lakers were able to kill it off. During the power play, a penalty was called on PSUC, bringing it to a 4-on-4 matchup. That only lasted for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, the Lakers had a minute left for a power play of their own. They were unable to convert, keeping the game scoreless entering the second period.
The Cards were able to take an early shot advantage of 12-4, but were unable to capitalize early.
In the second period, both teams started scoring. With 14:37 left, senior forward Connor Toomey got one past Oswego goalie Matthew Zawadzki with an assist from senior defender and captain Brandon Beadow.
Oswego was able to come back and get a goal from Morgan Bonner with 8:26, evening the score at one goal apiece.
PSUC didn’t let up and with 2:33 remaining in the period, junior forward Connor Gorman was able to get a goal in with an assist from Toomey.
The Cards came out in the third and continued playing their game, not giving the Lakers another chance to come back. They were able to keep Oswego at bay and play another period similar to the first: scoreless. Sophomore goalie Brady Rouleau was able to keep the Lakers off the scoreboard and finish out the game. Toward the end of the game, Oswego pulled their goalie, which made Rouleau’s job harder.
“A one-goal lead, the goalie pulled and six guys on the ice,” Rouleau said. “I guess it was just being zoned in, trying not to let the crowd get to you and trying to have those moments, and the guys really pulled through today, so I have to give credit to all of them.”
Emery said even though he likes a good offensive game, the team won this game due to strong defensive play.
PSUC was able to the win the game with a 2-1 victory and bring the trophy back to PSUC. They now have an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
Senior Mark Constantine has been in this scenario before. When he was a freshman, his team won the SUNYAC finals and made it to the NCAA tournament.
“It is going to be like every other game, just tougher, and it is still do or die,” Constantine said. “Just have to get to the Final Four.”
The team played a hard-fought tournament to get here, coming out and defeating both Brockport and Oswego in competitive matchups.
Rouleau said that this weekend he was able to help his team by playing better.
“I made it so they didn’t have to score seven goals to win the game, which is a little bit better for them,” Rouleau said. “To be honest, I played a little bit better and hopefully that’s how I keep playing, but the guys really pulled through and made my job pretty easy.”
The Cards now have to wait until Monday to see who they will be facing in the first round of the NCAA tournament and whether they will play at home.
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