For the second consecutive night, The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team defeated Williams Smith College, 5-1, on Sunday, scoring four goals in the final period, after entering the period tied for the second consecutive night. The win was the Lakers’ fifth straight as they moved to 16-4-1 on the season, 12-3-1 in ECAC West play.
Alexa Aramburu had her first career hat trick, lighting the lamp three times, while Brianna Rice also scored twice, both goals coming in the third period.
Head coach Diane Dillon did not have a definitive answer for why her team had such success in the third period this weekend. Assistant coach Andrew Lazzaro was not sure either.
“That’s the question we were trying to figure out ourselves,” Lazzaro said. “We had some great opportunities and good looks in the first two periods, but we couldn’t seem to get that little extra to put it into the net. I think we just found those little things in the third period.”
Dillon credits the late-game success to her team’s maturity.
“We don’t panic,” Dillon said. “We’re preaching to them as a coaching staff to just stick to the game plan, to make sure that we are playing Laker hockey. In the end, experience, conditioning and depth took over.”
The Lakers started off the game very aggressive, taking multiple shots within the first minute, and did a great job of keeping possession. William Smith did not have possession in its offensive zone until over five minutes into the game. Olivia Ellis and Alli Ulrich were both aggressive with their shot taking, but were not able to net the puck.
“They [William Smith] came out fighting today,” Dillon said. “When you’re tied going into the third period, it’s anybody’s horse race. You have to give them some credit.”
The first goal of the game came in the second period from the stick of Aramburu, who had a great chance off of a favorable bounce on a deflection. Rice and Alyssa Brockman assisted on the goal.
“I thought that whole line was very effective today,” Dillon said. “Lizzy Marks has been really anchoring that line and she’s been playing so well.”
The second period goal for the Herons came at the hand of a big mistake from the Lakers. Krista Federow was in a one-on-two situation against Jayme McCreary and Kendall Applebaum. Federow beat McCreary to the right side of the crease and put a shot on net. Goalie Tori Trovato was able to pad it away, but Applebaum’s attempted clearance of the rebound went into the back of the net.
Despite the fact that the puck went in off of Applebaum’s stick, Dillon said McCreary was at fault on the play.
“I put that one on McCreary,” Dillon said. “The puck did end up going off of Kendall, but the mistake was made at the offensive blue line. Jayme just mishandled the puck and got out-muscled on the ice.”
Aramburu’s second of three goals of the game came early into the third period. Andrea Noss came around the net and looked to give it to Ellis, but she misplayed it from the slot. Ellis eventually gathered the puck and sent it to the center where Ulrich took a slapshot from deep, something she is very efficient at doing. Aramburu deflected it right past Heron goalie Maggie Salmon.
Aramburu added another goal late into the third.
Rice, the tallest player on the ice tonight at 6’0, used her size to score twice in the final period, and helped shift the momentum to her own team.
Although she did not show up in the box score, Noss played an efficient game and created many chances for her teammates. She did a lot to help kick start Oswego State’s offense, as well as its recent offensive surges. Dillon spoke highly of the freshman and her progress.
“She’s one of those kids that wants the puck on her stick. She’s benefiting from having fun, she just enjoys it,” Dillon said. “With Rachel Lenard getting injured and having to change around the line, she hasn’t missed a beat. Andrea is one of those kids that just sees the ice better more than others, and the concepts of where open spots are going to be.”
Aramburu and Rice each had a goal on the power play, something the Lakers have done better in the latter half of the season. At one point, the Lakers were 6-for 58 on the man advantage, only scoring on 10 percent of opportunities. Since then, however, they have converted on nine out of their last 25 chances.
“It’s a special team’s game,” Dillon said. “Any time you can make an opponent pay, it’s a momentum shift. Hockey is a game of momentum.”
The Lakers remain in third place in the ECAC West Conference standings, with SUNY Plattsburgh winning on the road at SUNY Cortland. One point is all that separates the two teams in the chase for second place and a bye into the conference tournament semifinals.
The Lakers host Stevenson University next weekend for a pair of games. Dillon said she is open to trying new things with her team for the non-conference matchup.
“Do we want to change up a ton? No. It’s more about working on the nuances of what we need to do for the playoffs,” Dillon said.
After the two Stevenson games, the Lakers go on the road to No. 1 Elmira. When Oswego State traveled to Plattsburgh when they were No. 1, it lost both games. Although it is still a ways of into the future, Dillon has been talking about the game and the preparation for it.
“We’re going to work on some defensive schemes,” Dillon said. “They are a very potent offense. They just play with so much confidence and they knocked off Plattsburgh (which was then ranked #1). If we want to get to that next level, we have to get through Plattsburgh and Elmira. We’ll be ready for that with a few defensive things, and a few tricks up our sleeve.”
Sunday’s win was also the 99th win for Dillon and the women’s ice hockey program since its rebirth in 2006. She is now just one win shy of 100 wins.
“It’s wonderful,” she quickly said.
She also remembers where her and the team began back in 2006, when speaking of where Williams Smith is as such a new program.
“I feel for William Smith because I’ve been in their position. It takes time and you have to stick to the vision.”
The Lakers now only have four games remaining on their regular season schedule. They play Stevenson Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Saturday is Senior Day at the Marano Campus Center Arena, The team has just one senior, goalie Bridget Smith.
Puck drop will be at 7 p.m. on Friday.