Lakers take 1 of 2 from Potsdam

Junior defender Jocelyn St. Clair and sophomore goalie Bridget Smith watch the puck behind the net during the Lakers’ 4-0 victory over Potsdam on Friday.

The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team split its weekend series at home with SUNY Potsdam. The Lakers (2-3-1, 2-2 ECAC West) dominated on Friday night, putting together a 4-0 shutout win, while dropping Saturday’s contest, 2-0.

Friday night’s victory was goaltender Bridget Smith’s fourth career shutout. Smith got stronger as the game went along, tallying 22 saves, 10 of which coming in the decisive third period.

“Honestly, the defense made it so easy for me,” Smith said. “They blocked everything and let me see the puck, so I have to give them all the credit.”

Potsdam (1-4, 1-2 ECAC West) came out aggressive early on Friday, putting a dent into a shortened Oswego State bench. The Lakers played without captain Olivia Boersen, who was suspended for one game after receiving a 10-minute major disqualifying penalty for checking from behind. Her absence forced head coach Diane Dillon to adjust her starting lineup. Dillon chose to start a more defensive lineup in an effort to thwart the Bears offense.

“We wanted to make sure that Potsdam didn’t get through the neutral zone with easily,” Dillon said. “Their (first line) job was to make sure they blocked shots and for the most part they did okay.”

The Lakers opened the game lacking energy. They failed to put pressure on Potsdam’s defense and played most of the period in their own zone. While their offense was lethargic, Oswego State’s defense picked up the slack. The Bears recorded only seven shots, though defenders blocked several others before getting close to Smith.

After a scoreless first period, the Lakers scored their first goal 10 minutes into the second period. After a shot from junior defender Jocelyn St. Clair bounced of the pads of Potsdam goalie Jen Conophy, freshman forward Lizzie Marks managed to put the puck in the back of the net. The goal was the second of Marks’ young career and was assisted by junior forward Maddy Paul and St. Clair.

“Jocelyn (St. Clair) took the shot from the point and it bounced off the goalie,” Marks said. “I got the puck, saw an opening and put it in the net.”

Once again, the Lakers defense was the story. Anchored by senior Breanne Reith and junior Leslie Jarvis, the defense only allowed five shots on goal. Defenders wreaked havoc in the passing lanes and won the battles on the boards, allowing the offense to take control. Despite having only four shots on goal, the Lakers offense controlled the puck for most of the period and managed to get quality shots.

The third period brought out a different Laker team. Oswego State came out flying in the third period, lead by the junior forward Melissa Seamont.

“Melissa is someone who every coach dreams of having,” Dillon said. “Melissa is one of the players who is a natural skater. She’s a hockey player through and through. She’s got the skill set and she’s got the mind set; she just loves to play hockey. We really rely on her to create energy and get us out of trouble.”

Seamont set the pace for the Lakers’ offensive attack. Despite only having one shot in the third period, she created turnovers, led fast breaks and found the open skater to rack up two assists. Five minutes into the period, junior forward Emma Smetaniuk got the scoring frenzy starting, as she was able to put the puck in the back of the net for her second goal of the season. Junior defender Leslie Jarvis and junior forward Megan Hagg assisted the goal.

The Lakers kept attacking even with the comfortable 2-0 lead, taking on their third goal halfway through the period. After a shot on goal, the puck was stuck in front of the goal, with skaters on both teams attempting to recover. Paul managed to kick it past the goal line for her second goal of the season. Seamont was credited with the assist on the play.

The Lakers scored their final goal just two minutes later on the power play. Junior defender Chelsea Hunt scored her first goal of the season after receiving a pass from Seamont.

Potsdam kept attacking despite trailing, 4-0, managing a game-high ten shots on goal in the final period. Smith was able to save all ten shots, however, en route to the shutout.

Saturday night’s game was a sloppy, hard fought game for both teams. Potsdam won, 2-0, behind the stellar play of junior goalie Dawna Salvarinas.

Salvarinas posted 19 saves in to her second career shutout. The Bears scored on a power play goal early in the first period after an elbowing penalty was called on Reith. After receiving a pass across the zone from senior Katie Komsa, Jenn Crawford’s one timer found the back of the net. Emily Hazelden was also credited with an assist, her third of the season. The goal was Smith’s first allowed in a week and gave the Bears a 1-0 lead they would never relinquish.

The Lakers again came out slow and despite the addition of Boersen, could not manage much offensively, despite five power play advantages. They failed to score on all five power plays and managed just two shots. The Lakers played passive-aggressively on the power play, as they were staying back in the zone as opposed to crashing the net. Dillon said playing on back-to-back nights might have affected their play.

“I thought we were a little flat coming out again,” Dillon said. “Some of that is getting the legs going but that’s as much of a mental thing than anything else. So some of it is that we were mentally tired, but we had to be mentally strong. We talked a lot about being focused on that second day and when the legs get a little tired the head has to be focused even more. We were missing assignments, hanging onto passes and not making plays, which is unacceptable.”

The second period was dominated by missed opportunities, as both teams had multiple power plays. The Lakers went on three power plays and again were unable to muster up a goal while on putting three shots on goal. The Bears had two power plays and managed to put three shots on goal. Outside of the power plays, neither team was really able to put too many shots on goal. The Lakers finished the period with five shots, while the Bears finished with six. Any opportunities that arose were squashed by the goalies. The Lakers had a three-on-one advantage early in the period, but failed to capitalize as Hagg’s shot found the glove of Salvarinas. The Bears had a brief five-on-three power play advantage, but were unable to find the net.

The third period proved to be intense, as the Lakers managed to put high quality shots on goal. While Salvarinas managed to save all of them, none were easy by any means. Hagg had a great, wide-open opportunity and flicked a quick shot toward the net, right into to Salvarinas’ chest. Hagg, Seamont and Boersen each added two more shots but could not find the net. The Lakers had a golden opportunity with a six-on-four advantage in the final minute of the game after going on the power play and pulling Smith. However, they failed to capitalize as the Bears’ defense prevailed. Crawford intercepted a pass and flicked it into the net from center ice for her second goal of the game, putting the Bears up, 2-0. That score would become final 35 seconds later and Potsdam secured its first win of the season.

After six games, Seamont leads the Lakers with six points on the season. She is also tied for the team lead in goals (two) with Paul, Boersen, Smetaniuk, and Marks. The Lakers head to Pennsylvania for a weekend series against Neumann University (2-1-1, 2-0 ECAC W). Oswego State swept the Knights at home last season, winning by scores of 4-1 and 3-1.