Laker Gameday Preview: Dec. 5 v. Neumann University

The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team takes its three-game winning streak on the road this weekend against Neumann University this weekend in a pair of ECAC West matchups against Neumann University. Coming into Friday’s game, Oswego State and Neumann are fourth and ninth in the ECAC West standings. Oswego State’s record stands at 5-2 (3-1 in ECAC West play) and Neumann is 1-7 (1-5 in ECAC West play).

Oswego State picked up a victory over non-conference opponent Hamilton College in its last contest on Nov. 25 at the Marano Campus Center Arena, 2-1. The story of that game was Freshman goalie Mariah Madrigal got her first career start between the pipes, and also her first victory in the one goal contest. All three goalies on the Lakers roster, Tori Trovato, Bridget Smith and Madrigal have started and won a game this year, something very few teams can say they can have done.

It would seem to be a weakness that multiple goalies are starting for the Lakers, but goaltending is far and away the strength and backbone of this team.

Oswego State is second in the nation for Div. III average goals allowed per game at 0.86 goals per game, trailing only Bowdoin College at 0.60 per game. It is also 16th in the nation on the penalty killed at 88.90 percent (24 of 27).

Senior Bridget Smith and junior Tori Trovato are each in the top five for save percentage in Div. III at posting a .978 and .973, respectively.

Neumann University has started off the year rocky, but has also faced a tough schedule to this point. It has fallen to  SUNY Plattsburgh and Buffalo State, the top two teams in the ECAC West. It lost both games to No. 1 Cardinals by a combined score of 8-2, and were also swept by the Bengals by a combined score of 9-4.

Oswego State on the other side has had a relatively easy schedule going 3-1 against conference opponents, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Cortland, who are fifth and eighth in the ECAC West, respectively.

Lakers head coach Diane Dillon has not said whom she will start for Friday’s matchup, or if she will switch it up for Saturday’s game. Dillon makes a decision throughout the week of practice based on whoever had the best week in goal, and who puts forth the most effort.

This weekend is pivotal for both teams in terms of conference record and momentum going into winter break. Oswego State has played very well, but will have a much tougher schedule the rest of the year, the opposite goes for the Knights.

Puck drop is tonight at 7 p.m. at Neumann University.