Last Friday, the Oberlin Plague suffered a heartbreaking loss to Denison, dropping a 7-6 decision in overtime.
For the most part, it looked as though Oberlin would prevail. After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, Oberlin bounced back with five unanswered goals. Entering the third period with a commanding 5-2 lead, the Plague sat back on their collective heels, expecting their rough and tumble opponents to lay down and die.
The final outcome proved that this was wishful thinking. With a flurry of timely goals, Denison managed to even the score at 6-6 in the final minutes of regulation, forcing the game into overtime. Once there, Denison disposed of Oberlin quickly, scoring within the first minute to end the game.
Fatigue contributed to Oberlin's loss, but other factors played a part in the defeat. Junior co-captain Dan Bourque said, "We lost because we had no legs in the third period. We were tired and Denison took advantage of that fact. They might have been in better shape than us, but I still think we outplayed them in the first and second periods."
The game was not the prettiest of contests as it was disgraced with penalties, many of which were attributed to the Plague. Denison scored their four goals in the third period while Oberlin was short-handed. Senior forward Clay Massi remarked on the filthiness of Oberlin's play. "We wanted to come out strong to intimidate Denison because in the past they have been known to be a bunch of goons," he said. "I think for the most part, though, we got caught up in their Friday night wrestling tactics. We got distracted from our finesse- oriented game by taking too many moronic penalties. Basically, that's what prevented us from winning."
Senior goaltender Ralph Cuseglio shined in the crease, turning away sixty-three shots. While he played a superb game by anyone's standards, Cuseglio said, "I really need to work on my short side, and the team needs to skate a lot more in practice so we're not so winded come the third period."
All things considered, Oberlin had several brilliant moments on the ice. The highlight of the game, however, was the unconditional love showed by the fans. The crowd was surprisingly strong in number and extremely supportive of the team, even after a painful overtime loss. As the Plague skated off the ice, fans rewarded their efforts with applause so deafening that one might have mistakenly assumed that Oberlin had won. It is especially encouraging and refreshing to see students who are not afraid to get excited and have fun at an Oberlin sporting event.
Finally, a serious issue needs to be addressed concerning the consumption of alcohol at William's Ice Rink. It has been brought to the team's attention by the Oberlin Athletic Department that if such behavior continues, the Plague will be subject to losing all of its privileges. This basically means that the team will not be allowed to play at the ice rink anymore and will receive no funding from Oberlin College. So, please come out to support the team, just be sure not to drink at the rink. Our next home game will be held on Sunday at 9:45 p.m.
-Jon Gonnelli is a member of the Oberlin hockey team.
Hockey: (courtesy of Ali Chenitz)
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 10, November 20, 1998
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