Freshman forward’s strong work ethic leads to success in rookie campaign

It’s hard to make an impact on the ice as a freshman, but Bridget Hamlin has done just that for the Oswego State women’s hockey team.

Hamlin has played in all six games the Lakers have played so far. She currently has the most goals on the team, with three, and is fourth in points.

Despite her hot start, Hamlin remains modest and credits her teammates for her early success.

“Great teammates, that’s really all it is,” Hamlin said. “They’ve put the puck on my stick. Most of them have just been in front of the net, banging it out. Crash and bang is what we call it.”

Head coach Diane Dillon, for her part, is not surprised that her recruit is prospering.

“Bridget just loves the game of hockey,” Dillon said. “She lives and breathes stats. She knows all the players. She knows the league. That’s something you can’t coach. That passion for hockey is something that’s just part of her. She always strives to get better. She’s a strong athlete. She’s gotten stronger and stronger and her work ethic has gotten better and better.”

Oswego State’s coaching staff liked the chance to see Hamlin’s strong work ethic in person during her summer workouts.

“She worked her tail off over the summer before she came here,” Dillon said. “We saw some of it firsthand, because my assistant coach was working camps and doing lessons in the rink Bridget was working out at in Rochester. So we got to see the dedications she was putting in. I think it’s going to really pay off for her.”

Unlike many of her teammates, Hamlin grew up relatively close to Oswego, in Hilton, N.Y. Though she lived near schools such as SUNY Geneseo and The College at Brockport, Hamlin knew early on that those schools would not be viable options.

“They don’t have women’s hockey and I spent so much of my life playing,” Hamlin said. “I knew I needed to play in college.”

Hamlin looked at schools such as Rochester Institute of Technology and the Lakers’ biggest rivals, SUNY Plattsburgh. Oswego State was the clear choice in Hamlin’s eyes.

“I looked at a lot of colleges around me and this one beat them out by far,” Hamlin said. “My recruit visit came on campus and I was like, ‘This is where I need to be,’ and committed my first time on campus.”

Dillon believes the combination of opportunity and compatibility needs has led to a great match for Hamlin.

“We had an opportunity here for her,” Dillon explained. “We needed numbers. We were looking for offensive players. She had a place where she could step in and get some ice time. I think any time a player hears that, it’s a draw.

“We’re closer to her home. Her family’s a big part of her life and a big part of her hockey carrier. They get to enjoy it with her. We know we have a good match when there’s a player that we would like to have join our team and they really feel like it’s the school for them. It’s a no-brainer.”

Hamlin tries to model herself after Olympic medalist Lyndsay Wall, who won a silver medal in the 2002 winter games and a bronze in the 2006 games. Wall was raised in Churchville, N.Y., the same town Hamlin was born and raised in.

“She just dominated,” Hamlin said of her role model.

Hamlin is a two-sport athlete. In addition to being on Dillon’s team, Hamlin is also a goalkeeper for the women’s lacrosse team. She said being a goalie in that sport helps her beat goalies on the ice.

“I kind of know where people are going to shoot, like corners and stuff,” Hamlin said.

The Lakers are hoping Hamlin has a bright future with them and will continue to develop. Dillon said the key to her continued success is for her not to lose her work ethic.

“She needs to keep that work ethic going,” Dillon said. “Right now, she’s got a spot on our second line, but she’s got six or seven players chopping at her heels that want that ice time. We’re continually working on getting her into better game shape. Her fitness has improved tremendously since she’s gotten here, but she’s got a ways to go and she knows that. As she gets quicker and more agile on the ice, she’s only going to improve.”

Hamlin will keep working to improve for the Lakers. She is driven by her work ethic and it has showed on the ice. Still only a freshman, Hamlin has found a niche with the Lakers.