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Phone (716) 673-3100 / Fax (716) 673-3136

CONTACT: Jerry Reilly,
Sports Information Director

DATE: Fri., Feb. 23, 2007


Men's Hockey

Underdog Devils like their chances vs. Oswego

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- The Fredonia State Blue Devils will be decided underdogs when they face Oswego on the road Saturday night in a SUNYAC semifinal.

The Lakers (20-2-3, 11-1-2 SUNYAC) are ranked No. 5 in the nation (after a stint at No. 1), they are the No. 1 seed in the eight-team SUNYAC Tournament, they are rested, they've already defeated the Blue Devils twice this season, and so on.

The Blue Devils (13-9-4, 5-7-2 SUNYAC) and their coaches feel they are up to the challenge. Faceoff is 7 p.m. Saturday at Oswego's state-of-the-art Campus Center Ice Arena.

"Honestly, outside of our players and coaches," head coach Jeff Meredith said, "there are not a lot of people across the conference or country who give us much of a chance. That is the perfect scenario for an underdog and we look forward to it."

The Blue Devils are coming off a 2-1 double-overtime win Tuesday at Buffalo State. It marked the third straight season they have advanced out of the quarterfinal round into the SUNYAC semifinals, where they have been eliminated the previous two times.

The same fate has befell Oswego. The Lakers have been ousted in the semifinal round each of the last two seasons while Geneseo -- which faces Plattsburgh in the other SUNYAC semifinal Saturday night -- has moved through the tournament to win two straight SUNYAC titles.

In two previous games with the Blue Devils this season, Oswego romped to an 8-0 home win Nov. 10, and withstood a sterner test for a 4-2 win Feb. 2 at Steele Hall. To advance, the Lakers will have to defeat the Blue Devils for a third time this season.

"We are very excited to be going on to Oswego for the conference semifinals," Meredith said. "After such a classic college hockey battle the other night, we feel good about going on the road. I think the win at Buff State the other night really helped our confidence and strengthened the way we have to play to be successful in the playoffs.

"As I stated last week before going to Buffalo State, I think there is a lot of pressure on the home team because they are expected to win and advance. Combine that with the fact that in each of the last two years, Oswego has lost at home in this round of the playoffs."

Meredith feels the revised SUNYAC format could work to his team's advantage.

"In the past," he explained, "the home team has had a two-game/mini-game series to play in so that if they lost on Friday, there was always Saturday to rebound. This year it is a one-game elimination so for us, we don't have to go to Oswego and be the best team in a two-out-of-three series. We just have to be the best team for 60 minutes."

The game will be broadcast on the internet by Fredonia Radio Systems and over-the-air locally by WCVF (88.9 FM).

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