The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team played their first Northeastern Women’s Hockey League matchup against rival Buffalo State on Nov. 11. Three different players scored the 3-0 victory over the Bengals. In a crucial game, according to head coach Diane Dillon, Oswego State proved well in the new conference.
“It’s always a big game when you start your league play, and it was nice to come out with our first two points,” Dillon said. “We were pretty excited to play, it’s always been a nice rivalry. To come out with a win and a shutout, it was fantastic.”
The Lakers also had two players return to the lineup for the game against the Bengals. Senior Andrea Noss and sophomore Julieann White played their first regular season games of the season. Noss returned after a muscle injury sustained between the preseason and the regular season opening game. White was out rehabbing a hip injury during the offseason, and was back earlier than expected, according to Dillon.
Noss won 10 of 14 faceoffs throughout the game, and White had a solid breakout chance in the second period of the game. Both players had immediate impacts coming back, and look to continue that throughout the season.
“They’re both very skilled players, it was huge to have them back,” Dillon said. “Noss is outstanding on the faceoffs, they both play on special teams.”
Both sophomores Eryn Stewart and Victoria Rankin scored in the first and second periods, respectively. They were able to score on a strong Justine Silva, who the Lakers have had trouble against in the past. Stewart scored in the slot, 13:52 into the period. Rankin’s goal came from a rebound that was stuck in the crease unseen by Silva, with 50 seconds left in the second period.
“It’s great, especially when you get the first goal, you always want to play with the lead,” Dillon said. “The second goal was a great play, it was a great hustle play. Eryn got her head up and buried it. It had a lot of momentum.”
Silva went down early in the third period with an apparent leg injury. After being tended to by the trainers, she skated off not able to put any pressure on her leg. Bri Gawronski replaced her 1:11 into the third period. Silva did not return to the bench. The possibility of Silva not playing on Nov. 12 does not change any game-plans, according to Dillon.
Senior Olivia Ellis scored a goal in the third period against Gawronski. She scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway, that featured freshman Jean-Marie Padden. The goal went over Gawronski’s shoulder, underneath the crossbar. After three or four chances that Ellis passed to Padden, she decided to take a shot herself, according to Dillon.
“I think her and Padden had three or four 2-on-1 opportunities, and she passed it to Jeanie’s backhand every time,” Dillon said. “When Ellis came back to the bench, she said, ‘I thought I should take one for myself.’ The kid can snipe.”
However, a big star in the game was senior Mariah Madrigal, who had her second shutout of the season. She finished the game with 33 saves, with 14 in the first period, followed by a 12-save period in the second. She had a last-second save in the second period, on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Dillon stated that if Madrigal hadn’t made that save, a lot of things could have changed in the third period.
“It was outstanding. She’s finding her zone, she came up big when we needed her to,” Dillon said. “Buffalo will never quit. They skate well, they had several odd man rushes. They can really do some damage, and they have in the past. She didn’t let Buffalo get into her head. I think it was an outstanding game for her.”
The Lakers will return 24 hours later to face Buffalo State in the second game of the weekend series. They still have two more meetings after the Nov. 12 game, which are both in Buffalo on Jan. 26 and 27.
“We expect more of the same thing from Buffalo. If I’m them, I’m a little snakebit, they had their chances, they just didn’t bury them,” Dillon said. “It’s always harder on the second day, we’ll make some tweaks, and I’m sure they will too. I think it’s going to come down to effort, goaltending and shooting the puck. All the basics.”
The Lakers are now 3-1 overall, with a 1-0 conference record. Oswego State faces the Bengals at the Marano Campus Center Ice Arena on Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. for the Lakers’ second conference match up.