"Although the Lakers fell 3-1 to Elmira during their second game against the No. 8 nationally-ranked team on Sunday, a 1-1 tie on Saturday marks a huge success for the women’s hockey program.
"Elmira is last year’s ECAC West Champions and is consistently one of the top three teams in the division. Last year, Elmira beat the Lakers 5-2 and 9-0 in two decisive victories. The fact that Oswego State was able to tie Elmira after last year’s results shows how far the team has come and how successful this season could potentially be.
"Penalties played a huge part in both games, which were both very physical. During Saturday’s game the teams committed an equal number of penalties with four during the first two periods. In the third period, Oswego State took three consecutive penalties, two of which overlapped to create a minute of 5-on-3 penalty kill. Elmira’s power play was deadly, and Oswego State had to work hard in the first two periods to prevent them from scoring while Elmira had the man advantage. The 5-on-3 power play was a huge challenge, but with some incredible saves by Emi Williams combined with solid defensive play from the penalty killers, Oswego State maintained the scoreless tie. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Elmira got on the scoreboard shortly after the penalty kill when Tori Charron and Kelsey Evershed of the Soaring Eagles utilized a 2-on-0 breakaway. Charron tallied her second goal of the season with Evershed earning the assist.
"Oswego State tied the game with less than seven minutes remaining. After the end of an Elmira penalty, the Lakers were able to maintain control of the puck in the zone long enough to get a cycle going. Senior captain Kathryn Sbrocchi took a shot from the point and Kristin Metzger redirected it in front to score the game-tying goal. It was also her first collegiate goal.
""It was her first goal, and we are so happy for her," Sbrocchi said. "That was the best part about it."
"The five-minute overtime period was full of action and physical play. The overtime period set the mood for an intense Sunday game. After such an exciting tie, the Lakers felt energized and ready to take Elmira on in the second game of the weekend.
""We could’ve won, but a tie is better than a loss," Sbrocchi said. "This is the first time we have tied a top-three division team, so this is such a big deal for us"
""We were hoping to win, but we have never beaten them or even come close to tying them before, so that was awesome," Williams said.
"Williams was an important part of the result. She registered 42 saves during the game and played strongly for the full 65 minutes. Williams stopped shot after shot and dove across the crease or stretched her glove to make the saves she needed to make. A game of this magnitude could be difficult for some goalies because it was low scoring and put some additional pressure on the goaltender; not Williams though.
""It’s a lot of pressure, but I like it," Williams said. "I think I perform best under pressure."
""Emi has been our go-to player for four years now," coach Diane Dillon said. "She knows what’s expected of her and she relishes it and gets stronger. She seems to thrive under pressure."
"After the first game, it was hard to imagine a game with even more penalties and physical play, but that’s exactly what happened. Penalties were the downfall for Oswego State, who gave up all three goals in the first period while Elmira had the man advantage.
""We got into penalty trouble early and it cost us," Dillon said. "The difference was three power- play goals."
"Aside from the abundance of penalties, the Lakers did not play a bad game.
""After we made some adjustments to our penalty kill and really settled down a little bit, we actually won the last two periods 1-0," Dillon said.
"The first period was very sloppy for the Lakers, but the second and third were much better. The Lakers had several scoring opportunities and hit a few posts before the game was through.
"In the third period, Oswego State finally found the back of the net when Mackenzie Lee flipped a backhand past Elmira goalie Samantha Maguire, denying her the shutout.
"The Lakers were disappointed with the loss, but knew penalties put them in a deep hole.
""We certainly need to clean up our penalties," Dillon said. "We were in the box too much and the Elmira power play is just too strong. I think that you saw today that Elmira is a pretty experienced club. What a good club will do to you is make you pay for your mistakes."
"The second game of a weekend series is always harder, and the Lakers proved that they can compete with one of the top teams in the division on a night-to-night basis.
""Even though we lost, it was a 3-1 hockey game which is a respectable result," Dillon said. "We know exactly what we did wrong to lose the game. So I think this gives us something to build on going into the Cortland weekend which is four very important divisional points."
"Despite the fact that the Lakers lost the second game, they were happy with the overall results of the two-game series.
""It’s a really great feeling," Williams said. "We made a list of goals and one of them was to beat one of the top three teams. So we are getting close."
""[This series] has showed that we can play with those top teams, but we have to keep playing like that," Sbrocchi said.
"In addition to getting closer to completing team goals, the tie and overall performance against Elmira was a success for the young women’s hockey program.
""[The tie] is absolutely fantastic," Dillon said. "It’s a milestone for this program. We would’ve liked the win for sure, but this is the first time we have taken a point from one of the top three teams in our division."
"Oswego State will play a road series against SUNY Cortland from Nov. 12-13. Last year, the Lakers tied the Red Dragons in one game and beat them in the next. The Lakers look to continue playing the way they have been and be successful in Cortland against a Red Dragon team that has yet to score a goal in three contests this season.
""When we play Cortland, we cannot play down to Cortland’s level, we have to make them play to us, and we can play such a good game," Sbrocchi said.