The Oswego State women’s hockey team returned to the ice for the 2012-13 season with a 2-1 exhibition loss to the Toronto Midget Aeros on Saturday afternoon at the Campus Center Arena. The Lakers were able to strike early for the game’s first goal, but were unable to hold onto the lead for the remainder of the game.
Oswego State took a 1-0 advantage 13:51 into the first period on a shot from junior forward Emma Smetaniuk from the center of the blue line that deflected off of junior defender Jocelyn St. Clair and into the net. Junior forward Megan Hagg was also in on the play and was credited with an assist.
“Everyone crashed the net,” Hagg said of the goal. “That’s going to be a big thing this season, pucks to the net and crashing hard.”
The Lakers would hold its 1-0 throughout the first period, despite allowing seven shots on goal compared to their own three.
“I think we came out strong,” Hagg said. “Some of us were definitely nervous. I was definitely gripping my stick a little too tight.”
Toronto came out more aggressively in the second period and was rewarded for it. The Aeros were able to knot things up halfway through the period on a goal by Jessie Eldridge, who recorded the equalizer on a pass from teammate Emma Low-A-Chee.
Oswego State sophomore goalie Bridget Smith faced 12 shots in the second period, stopping all but Eldridge’s goal. The Lakers were not able to generate much offense, once again tallying just three shots in the period.
The Aeros continued their aggressive play in the final period, taking the lead less than a minute into the period. Eldridge scored once again, forcing a turnover in the Lakers’ defensive zone and flipped a shot over Smith’s shoulder for the game-winner.
Smith faced another 11 shots in the third period, bringing Toronto’s total to 30 for the game. She played the entire game in net except for the final 20 seconds when the Lakers pulled their goalie. Smith tallied 28 saves on the day.
Oswego State struggled offensively, putting up only five shots on goal in the third, giving the team a total of 11 on the afternoon.
Despite the game being an exhibition, the Lakers treated it as if it were a regular season game, preparing no differently.
“We definitely treated it as if it was a normal game,” Hagg said. “Everyone came in with the same mentality that it was going to be a big chance to see where we are as a team and what we need to work on.”
The Lakers will begin their regular season on Friday as they will travel to Castleton State for a 7 p.m. game. Their first regular season home game will come on Saturday, Nov. 3 in a conference game against Utica College.
Oswego State took a lot from the game on Saturday, using it as a tool to determine what needs to be worked on before the regular season begins.
“This weekend we’re working on power play, penalty kill and we worked on out breakouts,” Hagg said. “We have three solid lines rolling and we’re looking for lots of shots on net and jump on rebounds and hopefully score some dirty goals in front of the net. We’re looking for a win this weekend and we worked really hard this week.”
Oswego State did have some things go in their favor, and that’s what the team will hang its hat on going forward.
“Our biggest strength on Saturday was everyone was working hard and battling in the corners,” Hagg said. “Some things weren’t working out, but everyone was working hard and everyone was getting down in the corners and battling.”
The Lakers, despite giving up two unanswered goals, are not discouraged by the loss and are looking forward to officially starting the season.
“The game was a good start,” Hagg said. “We’re super excited for the season. I can’t wait to get in there and see what we’ve got. I think it’s going to be a competitive season.”