Lee paces Lakers to victory in home finale

Fresh off the biggest win in the program’s history, the Oswego State women’s ice hockey team finished out the regular season against Castleton State Tuesday at the Campus Center Ice Arena.

The Lakers started off the contest on the wrong foot when the Castleton State power play took a 1-0 lead five minutes in. An odd man rush shot from Kaitlin Hayes bounced off a Laker stick and past goaltender Catherine Cote.

"We knew it was going to be a long day after that first goal kind of deflected and fluttered in," Oswego State head coach Diane Dillion said.

The undisciplined game would yield 10 penalties for Oswego State, including two 5-on-3 advantages for Castleton. The Laker penalty kill went 9-for-10, giving up only one goal. The Lakers’ power play was a mere 1-for-7 in the penalty-filled contest.

With seven minutes left in the first period, the Lakers caught fire, scoring three unanswered goals before the end of the period. Freshman forward Carly Henderson put the puck past Spartan goalie Amanda Hoy off a faceoff from junior forwards Mackenzie Lee and Jillian Bergeron. Minutes later freshman forward Megan Howe took a pass from Lee on a 2-on-1 odd man rush and buried it to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead. With about a minute remaining in the period, Lee took matters into her own hands by deking past three Spartan defenders and finishing with a backhand between the legs of the goalie.

The box score stayed quite in the goal category but light up on both sides of the penalty boxes with both teams taking a combined seven penalties. Neither team would capitalize on power plays while both goalies stood tall. Cote’ finished the game with 25 saves for the Lakers while Hoy knocked away 39 shots for Castleton.

The chippy game continued in the third period with three more Oswego State penalties handed out. As a Spartan penalty expired giving them their second 5-on-3 advantage, Mackenzie Lee pushed the puck up ice, split the Spartan defense, and put away her second goal of the game and 15th of the season at 10:34 of the third period, icing the game for the Lakers. The four-point effort gave Lee 24 points forthe season, which broke the single season record set by Jessica Lister’s 22 points in the 2006-07 season.

Dillion was happy with the win, but saw room for improvement heading into the playoffs.

"We were in the box way too much, there are good penalties and bad ones, and we took too many bad ones," Dillon said. "We forced the puck too much and we’re not going to advance in the playoffs if we don’t play better, everyone in the locker room knows that and knows we can play better than that."

The fifth-seeded Lakers will face off against Neumann University in the first round of the ECAC Women’s West Playoffs on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Neumann.