From The Oswegonian
By Jack Perdek
The men’s ACHA hockey has added a crucial victory on their 2021-2022 season splitting two games with NECHL leader Niagara University on the road Jan. 29.
The Lakers were able to beat the Purple Eagles in a 3-2 contest against a club they had been struggling with in recent history. The Lakers goal in game 1 came from Thomas Sansone, Trevor Jubran and Carter McWilliams giving the team a third period victory going into Sunday, Jan. 30. In the next match, the Lakers were able to keep it close in the first two stanzas but dropped too many goals to Niagara in the third period. Overall, the Lakers reached their short goal of taking one away from their rival.
Head coach of the Lakers Travis Hyde is happy with what he saw from his squad last weekend and says the team stays resilient in the close ones but can still find more room for improvement.
“I thought we played a very structured game on Saturday,” Hyde said. “Matched with quality goaltending, we controlled the neutral zone for the most part which helped us keep our foot on the gas for the entire game. Sunday, we looked a bit fatigued at times so that will be a focus going into this weekend and the rest of the season.”
Hyde is also pleased with the way the team has come back from winter break and performed with passion this spring. Special teams has been a constant for the Lakers and all lines are showing some promising defense out there on the ice. Hyde says these adjustments have been helping them improve every game.
“Our powerplay has definitely gotten better over the last few weeks,” Hyde said. “We made a few changes, and some guys seemed to gel better with other guys so we rolled with it. I believe we had a PP goal in each of our first 3 games back for the spring semester, so that’s a plus. As well, it was nice to see some guys playing 200ft and contributing defensively.
One of the players responsible for the quick transition back to winning hockey games is forward Chase Nies. Just behind linemate Jubran’s team-leading 31 points, Nies’ 24 have been just as crucial. His assist total has proved why the captain has been able to get everyone involved with his team-high 16. In last weekend’s game, Nies is ecstatic with the Laker’s performance and was relieved to give the Purple Eagles a good contest.
“The first game (Saturday) was one of our best games of the year,” Nies said. “In the second game we were only down 2-0 and we let them implode in the third. We do have a lot of momentum splitting with a top team from the weekend going into this weekend against Mercyhurst.”
For the return of the team in the month of January, the captain likes what he sees in terms of team chemistry. Nies says the team’s depth and attention to detail is the reason they are able to go out and give teams the best look posible. To him the bond in the lockerrom has formed nicely and the mentality is the same n o matter who you talk to.
“One of our biggest positives is our transformation from a team to a family as a whole, Nies said.” “Going into each game with positivity is key, we’ve had a lot of different line combinations, we have a lot of freshmen stepping up for the team. Playing the full 60 minutes is something the team talks about a lot, playing 100% is what our coach preaches for us.”
Hyde holds Nies in high regard especially with the way he gets the underclassman involved. Having a solid team from top to bottom is one of the reasons he sees him as a leader for the Lakers.
“Chase is a leader on and off the ice, Hyde said. “He is a guy I see a lot of younger guys chat with every day. This is a testament to his character and integrity, as well as his IQ and experience at this level. He has helped some of these younger guys find their groove not only on the ice but through college and that is something I am very proud of him for.”
The Lakers will need strong chemistry and confidence if they are to keep a national championship on their radar, but this season they just want to take it one game at a time. Nies says keeping a focus on their short term goals will be better in the long run.
“I feel like we have been tunneled visioned a little bit on winning nationals,” Nies said. “I think something we’ve realized is having a broader mindset on our goals and winning our conference championship with a positive mentality. Obviously, nationals can be a sub-goal in the back of our mind but we are focused on winning everygame possible.”
Oswego State’s next puck drop will be against Mercyhurst, and the team will attempt to steal back the Laker Wheel; a trophy that both lake school teams can keep upon a victory. Nies foresees another good match-up and wants the trophy back in Oswego State.
“They have the trophy right now, we’re looking to take the Laker Wheel back,” Nies said. “I hope for years on we keep it here at Oswego, but it’s always a good battle against Mercyhurst.”
(Originally published at https://www.oswegonian.com/2022/02/04/acha-lakers-steal-huge-road-game-at-niagara/)