OSWEGO - The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team will return home from the first overseas exhibition series in program history on Sunday.
The Lakers, who finished 19-7-2 overall last year and are set to open the regular season on Nov. 1 at Marano Campus Center Arena, won their first two games against international professional teams and were scheduled to wrap up the three-game tour against Alleghe of the Italian Hockey League earlier this week at the Alleghe Ice Palace in Italy.
Oswego opened the series with a 5-0 shutout victory over GDT Bellinzona — a member of the Swiss 1 Liga of the Regio League, organized by the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation — last Friday at the Centro Sportivo di Bellinzona in Switzerland. The Lakers followed that up with a 6-1 victory in the second matchup between the two teams on Sunday in the same location.
Josh LeBlanc and Michael Gillespie scored a goal in each game, while Mitch Emerson recorded two assists in each victory for Oswego.
The Lakers rotated their trio of goalies for a period in each matchup. Senior David Richer stopped 16 shots overall, senior Cedric Hansen made 14 saves and allowed the lone goal, while sophomore Steven Kozikoski registered 17 stops, including 11 in the third period of the opening game to preserve the shutout.
“We get an early start to our season,” Oswego State men’s hockey coach Ed Gosek stated in a press release. “It’s great for team bonding and team chemistry, especially this year with 14 seniors. It is a great way for our senior class to start off their final year.”
Gosek and his players initially returned to campus on Aug. 1 for six days of practice. The team and a group of family members and supporters then flew to Milan, Italy, to begin the international endeavor that included a slew of sight-seeing and tourist activities.
The team stayed in Como, Italy, for the first half of the trip before travelling to Bassano Del Grappa.
The Lakers went on a boat tour along the Mediterranean coast, visited Cortina d’Ampezzo and Venice while in Italy, and are wandering around prominent sites in Rome during the final three days of the trip.
“It’s the first time in the history of our program,” Gosek added in the press release. “We are going to enjoy it, make the most of it, and for a lot of us including myself, it probably is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The Oswego Blueline Club and members of the alumni base raised funds to help offset the travel costs for players.
Gosek stated in the press release that the overseas trip was originally suggested by his late wife, Mary Gosek, about four years ago after conversations with family members of other coaches at a convention they attended together in Naples, Fla. Gosek said that his children and other family members attended the trip along with him.
“We obviously wish Mary was with us, but we will carry her in spirit, as it all began with her,” Gosek said.