Seamont leads Oswego State past No. 8 Utica

Senior assistant captain Jocelyn St. Clair battles for a loose puck in front of the Lakers’ bench during Oswego State’s 2-1 victory over Utica College on Sunday.  (Perry Kennedy | The Oswegonian)
Senior assistant captain Jocelyn St. Clair battles for a loose puck in front of the Lakers’ bench during Oswego State’s 2-1 victory over Utica College on Sunday. (Perry Kennedy | The Oswegonian)

Adversity brings out character, and the Oswego State women’s ice hockey team, led by senior Melissa Seamont, showed they possessed character this weekend after sweeping a home-at-home series against No. 8 Utica College.

On Saturday, Seamont netted both goals in a 2-1 road victory, both coming on the penalty kill, to bring the Lakers to victory over Utica. With the Pioneers coming in to the Campus Center Ice Arena Sunday looking for revenge, Seamont and the Lakers responded, earning a 2-1 victory.

Oswego State got off to a slow start, falling behind early and needing Seamont’s heroics later in the game.

“It seems for whatever reason, it takes us a little bit to get our legs going, to get our confidence going,” head coach Diane Dillon said.

Sluggish play and lack of communication early led to missed opportunities, which in turn led to a quick 1-0 deficit. Just 3:45 into the first period, Utica’s Kelsey Dowdall gathered a loose puck and beat net-minder Bridget Smith. While the goal gave Utica the lead, the Lakers made a noticeable effort to pick up their play.

Oswego State showed the tenacity the team has shown all year, and at the 14:30 mark of the first period, the leaders of this Laker squad helped knot the score at 1-1. Senior Emma Smetaniuk was pulled down outside of the hash marks to the right of the Utica goal and sent a beautiful feed from her knees to senior captain Olivia Boersen from out in front of the net. From there, Boersen hit Seamont with a pass and she sent it home, tying the score at 1-1.

“I don’t know what happened, it just kind of trickled in,” Seamont said. “I’ve played with Emma (Smetaniuk) since the time she got here as a sophomore and now with Liv (Boersen) on our line we just communicate very well.”

The line’s communication continued to work well for the Lakers, who gained the lead in the third period after a scoreless second frame.

The line of Seamont, Smetaniuk and Boersen stayed aggressive on the offensive end and gave Oswego State the lead about nine minutes into the third period while the Lakers were on a power play. Seamont scored on the power play, with assists going to Boersen and Smetaniuk.

Junior Bridget Smith  saved 57 of 59 shots en route to a sweep of Utica College last weekend.  (Perry Kennedy | The Oswegonian)
Junior Bridget Smith saved 57 of 59 shots en route to a sweep of Utica College last weekend. (Perry Kennedy | The Oswegonian)

“If I had my way, she and a few other of these kids wouldn’t graduate,” Dillon said. “They have that kind of chemistry going. We’ve had them playing together all year and now its really starting to gel. And now they’re really just having fun out there.”

The trio is responsible for every goal the Lakers put on the board this weekend. The rest of the team chipped in as well, helping Smith pitch a shutout following the early goal.

The defense played stellar and with Smith between the pipes, the Lakers shut down a high-powered Utica offense despite needing to turn to the penalty kill five times throughout the game.

“Bridget came up big,” Dillon said.  “You have to have a goaltender who is your best [penalty killer].”

The Lakers did not score on the six power play opportunities handed to them and, according to Dillon, “were a little tentative on the power play.” Despite 12 minutes on the power play, the Lakers could only muster eight shots on net, something Dillon said the team will need to work on with top-ranked SUNY Plattsburgh  coming to town next weekend.

With the two wins the team picked up this weekend, the Lakers improve to 16-6-1 (10-3-1 ECAC West) on the season and have all but secured the No. 3 spot in the conference standings.

The Lakers play No. 1 Plattsburgh this weekend to close out the regular season. Puck drops at 7 p.m. on Friday and then again at 3 p.m. on Saturday for Senior Night.