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Elmira takes the first game of the Thanksgiving Classic

The Elmira Soaring Eagles dominate #8 Oswego 7-1 to advance to the championship game of the Utica Thanksgiving Classic.

Game one of the Utica Thanksgiving Showcase kicked off on Friday afternoon with a matchup of two premier Division III teams. The red-hot Elmira Soaring Eagles took the ice at the Adirondack Bank Center against the #8 Oswego St. Lakers. The teams had already met once this season, with the Soaring Eagles skating away with a 7-3 victory on their home ice about five weeks ago.

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Oswego controlled play for most of the first period, but it was Elmira who scored the goals. At the 6:12 mark, Shawn Kennedy turned a fired a shot from the left circle that found its way past Lakers goaltender Brandon Milberg to open the scoring. Seven and a half minutes later, Elmira added to its lead. Kerfalla Toure got in all alone and beat Milberg five-hole with a backhander to give his team a two-goal advantage heading into the first intermission.

Elmira’s Bailey Krawczyk (#14) fires a shot on Oswego goaltender Brandon Milberg (#1) during Friday afternoon’s game. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Oswego wasted no time getting on the scoreboard to open the second period. At just fourteen seconds in, Brock Krulicki scooped up a loose puck in the slot and wrapped it around Elmira goaltender Kyle Curtin to cut the deficit in half.

The Lakers opened the second period holding the potent Soaring Eagles offense without a shot for almost ten minutes. Unfortunately for Oswego, the first Elmira shot of the period was a goal. While killing a Laker power play, Chance Gorman burst down the left side of the zone, cut to the net, and slid a backhander between Milberg’s legs. It would be the last shot Milberg would see, as Oswego coach Ed Gosek opted to replace him with Cal Schell.

Oswego’s Shane Bull (#24) sets a screen in front of Elmira goaltender Kyle Curtin during Friday afternoon’s game. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Eighty-nine seconds later the Soaring Eagles struck again, this time on the power play. Bailey Krawczyk sent a pass to the slot from the left corner to Nicholas Domitrovic. The second-leading scorer in Division III did the rest as he fired a shot past Schell to make it 4-1. Less than five minutes later while on the power play, Gorman recorded his second goal of the game giving the “home” team a 5-1 lead through forty minutes of play.

Even though the Lakers outshot the Soaring Eagles by a more than two-to-one margin in the third period, Elmira put the game away. Chance Gorman completed his hat trick at just over a minute into the frame when he snapped a shot past Schell from the slot on a three-on-two. The Soaring Eagles took a five-minute major with 11:22 when Tyler Schwindt went to the box for interference. It didn’t slow them down however, as Shawn Kennedy scored his second of the game (and his team’s second shorthanded goal) when he took a pass from Domitrovic and wired a shot into the top right corner of the net from the slot. The Kennedy goal concluded the scoring for the game with the Soaring Eagles earning a 7-1 victory. They will play the winner of the Utica vs Saint John’s game on Saturday. Oswego will play the loser of that contest.

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