The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team came out strong, but wasn’t able to finish, as they lost to the Buffalo State Bengals 2-1 on Nov. 12. The Lakers now fall to 1-1-0 in the conference, splitting the weekend with the Bengals.
The Lakers showed growth since the Saturday game, bringing out a little more force in the second game. After allowing 14 shots in the first period during the first game, the Lakers were able to hold Buffalo State to only seven shots. Four of the shots came while the Lakers were on the penalty kill, which they were 4-4 in the game.
“I think it was somewhat of a better start. We certainly wanted to focus on that today, because we certainly did not do that yesterday,” head coach Diane Dillon said. “We’re just sluggish to get going. We sit back, and we wait. When you have one or two players that don’t execute, it can throw a whole forecheck to heck in a hand-basket. While I was alright with the first period, I expected more.”
Andrea Noss, who was dominant on the faceoff all day winning 17 of 21 draws, scored the lone goal for the Lakers at 17:04 of the first period. Since her return on Saturday after an injury, Noss is 27-35 on the faceoff. Kate Randazzo had the assist for Noss’s goal.
“Noss is a gamer, she’s always going to compete. She’s a strong hockey player,” Dillon said. “She brings a great dimension to us. Certainly on the faceoff dot, she’s critical to us. So I never expect anything less out of her.”
The second period is where things started to fall apart for the Lakers, according to Dillon. Despite a strong first period, and third period, the middle period where Oswego State was not able to control the game. Erin Gehen of the Bengals scored at 4:31 of the second period. Mariah Madrigal faced eight shots, compared to Bri Gawronski, who only was challenged with three shots on goal in the period.
Buffalo State’s starting goaltender, Justine Silva, was injured during the Saturday game in the third period. She skated with the team during warmups, but faced no practice shots and sat on the bench all game.
“We didn’t play well in the second at all, and Buffalo took it to us, and we let them,” Dillon said. “We came out with a little more determination in the third. This is a goaltender that came in and got a win for her team, when really if we peppered her like we should have, it would’ve been a different outcome. I’ll give credit to Buffalo, they rallied the troops and they never quit. We got outworked on our own rink.”
Oswego State also had three penalties, but that did not come into play as the Lakers were able to kill all three. The penalty killing unit is now 22-26 on the season. They allowed one power play goal from Castleton University, and three against Elmira College.
“Our PK was fine, it was outstanding,” Dillon said. “It’s tough to generate offense when you’re in the box.”
Oswego State had a 15-shot third period, but couldn’t get anything past Gawronski. Dillon stated that it looked like they were on a power play for the first half of the third period. But, it was even strength for all 20 minutes of the final period.
Buffalo State would score the game-winning goal at 11:29 of the third period. Brooke Krantz scored, with assists coming from Jessica Carter and Bri Carroll. Despite solid chances from the Lakers late in the period, the final score would remain 2-1.
“We let Gawronski see the puck. She squared up to the puck, we didn’t have traffic, I think that shows you our youth and our experience in some cases,” Dillon said. “You’ve got to get a goaltender like that moving laterally and taking away her eyes. She made a couple of nice saves, but we’re not getting through the traffic to get to the rebounds. We were not the first to them.”
The Bengals were giving up rebounds in the third period, which Jean-Marie Padden and Emma Morisette tried to take advantage of, but couldn’t.
“Those [five or six foot rebounds], you’ve got to make a team pay,” Dillon said. “We just didn’t do that today.”
Madrigal, who had a shutout on Saturday, made 19 saves total in the game. This was her fifth start of the season. Dillon called it an “average” game for her, despite letting up the two goals in the loss.
“One of the things we’ll work on is getting her out of the net and playing some of those pucks,” Dillon said. “There were a couple opportunities that she could’ve come and played the puck to make it a little easier on our defense. But she made some nice saves, with a couple nice toe-saves. I’m not putting this one on her.”
After the split weekend with Buffalo State, the Lakers only have two points in the Northeastern Women’s Hockey League, putting them in last place. They’re a point behind both SUNY Potsdam and Cortland State. The Red Dragons and Bears split their weekend, similar to Oswego State and Buffalo State. The Bengals and Bears also split last weekend, as well.
“These are league points that you have to have, and we’re losing them in our own rink,” Dillon said. “This would’ve given us the upper hand heading into Plattsburgh, which we know will be a tough fight.”
The Lakers will travel to Plattsburgh State next weekend for a back-to-back conference series on Nov. 18 and 19. The Cardinals are coming off a 3-0 exhibition win against the Toronto Junior Aeros. Before that, they lost to No. 2/2 Norwich University 4-3 on Nov. 8. As of Nov. 6, the Cardinals were still ranked No. 1 by both US College Hockey Online and D3Hockey.
The Lakers have a 1-24-0 record against the Cardinals. Their lone win game last season, which would be the Cardinals’ only loss of the season, after being crowned national champions.
“We told them that we’re a team effort, we don’t have those superstars that can skate through and create,” Dillon said. “We have to play as a team. If you don’t buy into the system, then you don’t play. It’s time to get back to the basics. It’s early in the season, we realize that. But you’ve gotta be willing to stick to the game plan.”
The Oswego State Lakers travel to Plattsburgh to take on the No. 1/1 Cardinals on Nov. 18 and 19. The Lakers will return to play at the Marano Campus Center Ice Arena on Dec. 1 for a weekend series against Cortland State.