The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team appeared worn-out as it dropped Saturday’s matinee against conference leader and the nation’s third-ranked team, Elmira College, 6-0, one day after nearly pulling off an upset against the Soaring Eagles (20-3-1, 14-2 ECAC W) in a 2-0 loss.
The Lakers (10-11-1, 8-6 ECAC W) failed to show any defensive effort Saturday as they allowed a whopping 61 shots on goal, compared to only 26 in Friday night’s loss. Sophomore goalie Bridget Smith played a fantastic game, despite the final score. She tallied 55 saves out of 61 shots, good for a 93 percent save percentage. Smith, however, could not do it all herself, and she needed her offense to come through. The Lakers failed to score at all this weekend and only mustered up nine shots on Saturday. Smith’s teammates knew they let her down.
“I think we all take her for granted because we know she can make all these crazy saves and now it’s about playing for her,” junior Melissa Seamont said. “She did her part and we needed to do our part and start scoring and we didn’t do that.”
The Lakers fell behind midway through the first period when sophomore Cassidy Delainey scored her eighth goal of the season. Fellow sophomore Ashton Hogan assisted the goal, her seventh of the year. Senior Madison Johnson increased the Soaring Eagles’ lead to two just three minutes later. After receiving a pass from sophomore Ashley Ryan, Delainey found Johnson near the blue line. Johnson one-timed the shot and guided the puck past Smith. Elmira skaters crowded the front of the goal to block Smith’s vision as the puck found the back of the net.
The lead remained 2-0 as the first period came to an end. The 2-0 lead was short lived as Elmira took advantage of Oswego State’s penalties in the second period as they scored two separate times on the power play. After an interference penalty was called on Oswego State junior Jocelyn St. Clair, Elmira freshman forward Olivia Nystrom scored her fifth goal of the season. The goal was unassisted, as she corralled a loose rebound after the puck deflected off of Smith’s pads to give the Soaring Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Elmira increased its lead to four shortly after, as Hogan scored her team-leading 17th goal of the season. Hogan scored on a rebound shot after a shot from senior Caitlin Metcalf bounced off of Smith’s pads and landed in front of the net. The puck trickled off of Hogan’s stick and past Smith’s outstretched legs. The second period ended with a 4-0 Elmira lead.
The Soaring Eagles had already compiled 38 shots, while Oswego State managed to only record four.
Elmira tacked on two more goals in the third period to go ahead 6-0. Junior Tanis Lamoureux scored just 26 seconds into the period thanks to a 5-3 advantage to give the Soaring Eagles a 6-0 lead. Delainey earned the assist, her second of the game. Elmira scored its sixth and final goal of the game with about seven minutes remaining when senior Mary-Kate Gellerman slapped a shot just under the crossbar and past Smith for her second goal of the season. Nystrom and senior Madison Johnston were credited with the assist. Soaring Eagle senior goalie Lauren Sullivan recorded nine saves and posted her second shutout of the weekend.
The Lakers lacked intensity on both offense and defense on Saturday, which was surprising, considering their performance on Friday night. Oswego State played Elmira on Friday as they nearly pulled off the upset despite losing 2-0. The two teams seemed very evenly matched on the ice. The Lakers used their physicality to counter the speed of Elmira.
The Soaring Eagles scored early, just six minutes into the first period, when Metcalf deflected a shot past Smith while on a power play. Senior Sam Curk’s shot from the blue line was first deflected by Hogan, which guided the puck to Metcalf’s stick and into the net. Both Curk and Hogan were credited with the assist. The score remained 1-0 as the period came to a close. However, despite falling behind, the Lakers played very well in the first period. They outshot Elmira nine to five and had three power play opportunities compared to one for the Soaring Eagles. The Lakers simply failed to convert on the power play.
The second period brought out the competitive nature of both squads, as the game became extremely physical. The Lakers used their physicality to try and get in Elmira’s heads.
“The second period was gut check time,” Laker head coach Diane Dillon said. “We’re not a finesse team, we don’t have that finesse player on our team. We needed to step up and block shots and use our bodies. It’s tough because it wears you down, but I think we’re a team that’s getting used to it.”
Freshman defender Jayme McCreary made a hard, clean hit along the boards right in front of the Elmira bench, as she chopped down the Soaring Eagle point leader Ryan. Elmira retaliated later in the period when Laker freshman Erin Ganley took an elbow to the head. She remained down on the ice for a couple of minutes, but got up and skated off on her own. She would not return to the game and sat out Saturday’s matinee with a concussion.
“Erin took an elbow to the head and its been diagnosed as a slight concussion, so we’re going to play it safe and keep her out until she’s ready,” Dillon said.
Elmira added its second goal of the game late in the second period when sophomore Erin Weston scored her fifth goal of the year. Weston corralled the rebound and pushed it past Smith following a shot from junior Ella Stewart. Stewart was open after receiving a pass from sophomore Lindsey Burrows and fired the puck toward the net. The puck bounced off Smith’s pads and right on to Weston’s stick. Elmira ended the period with a 2-0 lead after outshooting the Lakers 14-3.
The score remained the same, as the Lakers failed to convert while on a six-on-three advantage for the final minute of the game. Oswego State added eight shots in the third period, but were unable to get the puck past Sullivan.
The Lakers went through a scare late in the period when Seamont had the wind knocked out of her after taking a stick to the ribs. She remained down on the ice for a few minutes and skated off on her own, but returned to the game after getting looked at on the bench. However, after Seamont returned she seemed a step slow, and was unable to help the Lakers during their six-on-three advantage.
Sullivan earned the win with a dominant shutout performance, recording twenty saves in the victory. Smith was the losing goalie despite tallying 24 saves.
Dillon was proud of her team’s effort despite the loss.
“I can’t fault them for their effort,” Dillon said. “They got stronger as the game went on; they fought hard. We just didn’t create enough offense but they never gave up. Elmira is so good and so fast especially in transition. They were rolling four lines out against our two and it caught up with us.”
Moving forward, Dillon will place a greater emphasis on moving the puck more efficiently.
“We had to be able to make that first pass more effectively,” Dillon said. “Elmira swarmed the puck very well and our centers need to do a better job at moving the puck.”
The Lakers honored their lone senior Breanne Reith after Saturday’s game to celebrate Senior Day. Reith received flowers and took a team picture with her parents watching from home. Reith’s parents were expected to attend the games over the weekend, but were unable after their flight was cancelled due to the weather. Reith has played in 81 games throughout her four-year career.
Oswego State will head to SUNY Cortland next weekend for its final two games of the season. The Lakers can clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they split the series. If the Lakers win both games, they will finish the season over .500. That would mark second time in program history that they would finish a season with a winning record.