The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team fell twice to top-ranked Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) last weekend in a two-game series that was both emotional and intense.
RIT shut out the Lakers 4-0 in game one, Oswego State’s “Pink the Rink” night. Game two, Oswego State’s Senior Day, ended 2-1 in favor of the Tigers, but the Lakers fought until the very end, literally.
The most dramatic moment of the two-game series came with less than 15 seconds left in game two when a brawl broke out.The Lakers found themselves on the power play in the last minute of the game and were putting RIT under pressure. Senior captain Kathryn Sbrocchi put a shot on net which RIT goaltender Ali Binnington saved. After the play, the fight between the two teams ensued, eventually resulting in 11 penalties.
“In a way it shows we are here toplay,” head coach Diane Dillon said. “That’s the first time this team has ever shown this kind of backbone.”
The rest of the game was played with the same grit as the final 15 seconds.
RIT scored first less than six minutes into the contest when it was given a 5-on-3 opportunity. Kourtney Kunichika beat Laker goaltender Bridget Smith to give the Tigers the opening goal. Kim Schlattman and Ariane Yokoyama recorded assists.
The Lakers tied the game later in the period. Junior defender Breane Reith took a shot from the blue line which was deflected past Binnington by sophomore forward Melissa Seamont. Reith and freshman defender Emily Marks earned assists on the tying goal.
RIT buried the go-ahead goal in the second period on a play with a lot of traffic around the Lakers’ net. RIT’s Danielle Read took a pass from Kristina Moss and her shot from the point found its way past Smith.
The third period went scoreless, but it was not without action. RIT and Oswego State exchanged scoring opportunities but neither team was able to light the lamp.
Smith finished the game with 28 saves, while RIT’s Binnington recorded 15.
After the game, Oswego State honored its seven seniors, Sbrocchi, assistant captain Jillian Bergeron, leading scorer Mackenzie Lee, forward Kelly Collins, forward Lauren Gilpin, forward Leah McNaughton and goalie Megan Amlinger.
Dillon saw game two as a marked improvement from the first one even though it was a loss.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with their effort. I thought it was a much better game from us today,” Dillon said. “We came out with a lot more fire, a lot more determination and we played much tougher on the puck.”
In the first game, the Lakers could not put a puck past RIT goaltender Laura Chamberlain and only managed to record 15 shots on goal.
“We created a lot of scoring chances, but I was certainly unhappy with our execution,” Dillon said. “We looked like we were running a little scared out there today, that I was disappointed in.”
Three of RIT’s four goals were scored on the power play and the other was scored on a breakaway.
Kolbee McCrea scored twice for the Tigers in the first period, netting a power play goal halfway through the frame and beating sophomore goaltender Catherine Cote on a breakaway attempt.
Midway through the second period RIT increased their lead to three when Lindsay Grigg scored with assists from Erin Zach and Morgan Scoyne.
Kunichika scored the final goal for the Tigers in the third with just one minute left in the game.
Despite allowing four goals, Dillon said Cote played a good game.
“Cote, I thought, made some excellent saves,” Dillon said. “They scored three power play goals on us and you can’t give a team of that caliber any opportunities. They will pick you apart as they should”
The climax of the games was the fight that took place at the end of the Senior Day game. Dillon said that she was glad her team showed RIT that it is not a team that can be walked on.
“That’s really not a part of women’s hockey, but there comes a time when you’re not gonna back down anymore,” Dillon said.
The heated rivalry between Oswego State and RIT began last season when the Lakers spoiled RIT’s perfect season by beating the Tigers on their Senior Day.
The Lakers currently stand in fourth place in the ECAC West. With just two conference games left this season, both against second-place Elmira, the Lakers look to stay in position for a home playoff game.
This weekend the Lakers faceoff against Division I Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn. and conclude their regular season the following weekend in Elmira.