After eliminating Buffalo State with a 3-1 quarterfinals victory at home, the third-seeded Oswego State women’s hockey team is set to take on No. 2 Elmira College in Plattsburgh on Saturday, with the winner advancing to play in the ECAC West Championship.
Oswego State, trailing 1-0 against Buffalo State, mounted a third period comeback to secure the opening-round victory.
However, the upcoming game against Elmira will likely be more difficult, as the Soaring Eagles finished the season with a 20-4-1 record and handed No. 1 SUNY Plattsburgh its only loss of the season.
Goaltending will be key for the Lakers, as Elmira finished the season with 100 goals scored. Oswego State has three capable goaltenders, but will likely choose between junior Bridget Smith and sophomore Tori Trovato, who started the game against Buffalo State and recorded seven saves.
Senior Catherine Cote has been battling an injury that has kept her on the bench for most of the end of the season.
The two teams met twice in the regular season, with Trovato and Cote each starting one game.
Cote started between the posts in the first matchup and surrendered five goals in Elmira’s 5-2 victory, while recording 22 saves.
Trovato started the second game and limited Elmira to two goals on 40 shots in the 2-1 overtime loss.
Both are known for their attacking offenses–the Lakers finished the season with 858 shots and Elmira with 895–and are capable of controlling the time of possession battle.
Controlling the puck will likely be the key factor in the playoff game, as the team that spends more time with the puck tends to put more pressure on opposing defenses, which often leads to additional scoring opportunities.
Oswego State will look to veteran assistant captain Jocelyn St. Clair, a senior, to lead the defensive attack against the Soaring Eagles.
St. Clair was named to the All-Conference second team for her play this season, due in part to her defensive tenacity on the ice.
Oswego State will need senior Melissa Seamont to pace the offense, as the four-year veteran, an All-Conference honorable mention, led the Lakers with 11 goals scored this season.
Oswego State will also look for captain Olivia Boersen to create scoring opportunities for her teammates, as she recorded a team-high 12 assists on the season.
The dynamic duo will attempt to beat senior net-minder Lisa Marshall, who finished the season with a 15-3-1 record and only allowed 22 goals (1.15 goals against average) while recording 456 saves (95.4 save percentage).
As for the defense, the Lakers will need to find a way to try and stop the Soaring Eagles’ offense, which had five players post double-digit scoring numbers this season.
Juniors Erin Weston and Cassidy Delainey each scored 10 goals, while senior Tanis Lamoureux tallied 11 scores.
Junior Ashley Ryan, who led the team with 41 points on the season, added 14 goals, and junior Ashton Hogan led Elmira with 17 goals, including 11 in conference play.
Defeating Elmira is a tall task for the Lakers, who have yet to record a victory against the Soaring Eagles since the program started in 2006.
Since its inception, Oswego State has gone 0-14-1 against Elmira, with the lone tie coming in the 2010-11 season. Since the tie, the Lakers have lost seven consecutive contests against the Soaring Eagles.
But this season’s Laker squad finished with a program-best 17-8-1 record and features a strong veteran presence to go along with a lot of young talent.
Oswego State also fared well on the road this season, playing to a 7-4-1 record away from the Campus Center Ice Arena.
Oswego State has an opportunity to advance to the ECAC West championship for the first time since the 2012-13 season, when the Lakers lost 1-0 to Plattsburgh in the semifinals.
With a balanced offense, strong defense, solid goaltending and a strong veteran presence in the locker room, the Lakers are set to battle Elmira with a championship berth within reach.
The winner will play in the championship game in Plattsburgh on Sunday.