After traveling to Utica College on Friday night and suffering a loss, the Oswego State women’s hockey team got its revenge against Utica College Saturday night with their 5-3 home victory. The Lakers (1-2-1, 1-1 ECAC W) were victorious just one day after losing to the Pioneers (1-1, 1-1 ECAC W) on the road, 3-1.
Sophomore goaltender Bridget Smith turned in a terrific performance, despite allowing three goals. She allowed all three goals in the third period, one of which came on a penalty shot by Pioneer junior forward Megan Myers.
Coming off Friday’s loss, head coach Diane Dillon wanted her team to come out aggressively Saturday, and the team responded with three first-period goals. Junior Melissa Seamont scored her first goal of the season just one minute into the game when she found the puck in the middle of the ice and hit it toward the net.
“To be honest, I was just trying to get the puck to the net,” Seamont said. “It was on my backhand so I just swiped at it and it found its way to the back of the net.”
Shortly after Seamont’s goal, the Lakers increased their lead to two on a goal from junior forward Emma Smetaniuk. Seamont found the puck near the crease and crossed it over to Smetanuik, who buried it in the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
The Lakers were not done scoring in the first period, as they added a third goal with a little less than five minutes left in the period. Junior Megan Hagg passed the puck over to Olivia Boersen, who fired a shot toward the net.The puck deflected in off the skate of Pioneer defender Janessa Haasbeek. Boersen was credited for her second goal of the season, while Hagg recorded the assist, her second of the season.
Smith had a remarkable first period, tallying nine saves, none of which were easy.She made an outstanding, diving save when both teams were playing down a player.
“I just told myself not to let the puck go in the net,” Smith said. “[A Pioneer player] actually hit me square in the chest, so I say poor aim on her part, but it felt good to make a save like that.”
Dillon said that the save fired up her team.
“Bridget’s diving save in the first served as a huge energy boost for our team,” Dillon said. “The energy that you get off of a save like that is incredible.”
The second period was nothing short of eventful, despite a lack of scoring. The Lakers were charged with five penalties, ranging from slashing to tripping to interference.Fortunately for the Lakers, their penalty kill unit was lights out.
“The penalty kill unit was absolutely tremendous,” Dillon said. “For me as a coach, the biggest honor a player can receive is to be on the penalty kill unit. We’ve worked a lot on it. What’s wonderful about this team is that they’re giving up their bodies and blocking shots and that’s what they have to do. However, the best player on the penalty kill unit has to be your goaltender, and tonight she was.”
Oswego State did have some power play opportunities of its own. The Pioneers were penalized for having too many players on the ice, but the Lakers were unable to capitalize.
Oswego State went on the power play again after a tripping penalty was called on Pioneer senior forward Meghan McMahon. They lost their advantage, however, less than a minute into the power play as junior Mady Paul was penalized for slashing.
Smith recorded eight more saves in the second period, brining her total to 17. Six of those eight saves came on the power play. The Lakers only managed six shots on goal in the period, bringing their total to 10.
The third period was much more eventful in terms of scoring, as five total goals were scored. The Pioneers got the scoring frenzy started with a penalty shot goal by Myers to cut the deficit to two. It was the junior’s first goal of the season and 39th goal of her career.
The Lakers responded, however, by tacking on a short-handed goal late in the period. Paul intercepted a pass in Utica territory and managed to break away and score her first goal of the season.
Utica brought the deficit back down to two on the power play when Myers scored her second goal of the game with only 3:43 remaining.Mary Fusco and Brittany Dellechiaie were each credited with their second assists of the season.
The Pioneers then closed the gap to one after Dellechiaie scored 76 seconds later. Courtney May and Fusco assisted the goal.
After Dellechiaie’s goal, Dillon called a timeout in an effort to giver her players a break. The Lakers are playing this season with a short bench, and she felt the timeout would allow her players to regroup for the final stretch.
“I wanted to give everyone a breather, but I just needed for them to take a moment off,” Dillon said. “We had just given up a couple of goals and I know [Utica] coach [Dave] Clausen always has his players ready to play. I really wanted to give our defense a rest and wanted to give them a second to collect their thoughts, and they did.”
Utica pulled goalie Jennifer Hammel with 1:30 remaining in an effort to tie the game. Pioneer forward Morgan Reed was forced into the penalty box, however, after a body-checking penalty, leaving the team shorthanded. Hammel remained on the bench and Seamont scored her second goal of the game after firing the puck from center ice into the back of the net to seal the victory.
The Lakers’ victory was their first of the season and they hope to keep up their winning ways next weekend against SUNY Potsdam (0-3, 0-1 ECAC W). The Lakers host Potsdam both Friday and Saturday night and are looking for payback.
“Last year, we had a four-goal lead and wound up tying at their rink, so this is a team we want a little revenge on,” Dillon said. “They’ve been picked to finish higher than us and we don’t like that either.”
Dillon says she plans for her team to continue the same approach for the upcoming games.
“We’re going to try and stay aggressive against Potsdam; that’s the way we want to play,” Dillon said.