Oswego State sweeps opening weekend at home

Senior forward Melissa Seamont holds off an oncoming Castleton player as she enters the offensive zone on Sunday afternoon. Oswego State won 3-2 in overtime.  (Perry Kennedy | The Oswegonian)
Senior forward Melissa Seamont holds off an oncoming Castleton player as she enters the offensive zone on Sunday afternoon. Oswego State won 3-2 in overtime. (Perry Kennedy | The Oswegonian)

The Oswego State women’s ice hockey team defeated Castleton State 3-2 in overtime to secure its second win of the season Saturday, one day after defeating New England College 5-0 at the Campus Center Ice Arena.

Senior Megan Hagg scored her first goal of the season by smashing a one-timer past Castleton goaltender Jess Cameron at the 2:31 mark of the extra session. The Lakers won both their games in the Oswego State Classic to get off to their first 2-0 start since the 2009-2010 season.

“It was nice to come out with two wins,” head coach Diane Dillon said. “It’s a great confidence builder.”

Hagg came back strong against Castleton after being on the short end of a nasty collision with a New England College forward.

Hagg rolled over the forward and landed on the back of her neck.

“Megan’s a gamer,” Dillon said of her senior forward. “She had about four or five grade-A chances today. When she gets hot, she’s going to be dangerous.”

Sophomore forward Lizzy Marks’ set up Hagg’s game-winner with a faceoff win,  sending a perfect pass to Hagg. The assist was Marks’ first point of the season. After the game, Dillon said she was proud of Marks’ progression.

“Lizzy is just one of those kids who’s a grinder,” Dillon said. “She works hard. As a freshman, she had to play a lot of shifts last year, play through a lot of mistakes. It was a lot of responsibility for a freshman. She came back, knowing that she would have to battle for ice time and earn that second center spot and she’s really working hard to keep it.”

“She’s not the fastest kid,” Dillon added. “She’s not the biggest kid. She’s not the strongest kid. But she’s working on little things like trying to win draws.”

For the second game in a row, the Lakers forecheck was suffocating and the time of possession was in their favor. Oswego State outshot the Spartans, 51-21, due in part to its control of the puck.

Despite the Laker pressure, Castleton State drew first blood.

At 14:14 of the first period, freshman forward Lisa Kilroy found a loose puck in front of Lakers goaltender Bridget Smith and lifted a shot over Smith’s glove.

“On that first goal there was series of mistakes that wound up in the back of the net,” Dillon said. “We had a freshman line on the ice. They made a mistake in positioning. They wound up with three forwards on one side of the ice. Any time you make two mistakes and a third one follows, it ends up in your net. That’s the way hockey goes.”

The Lakers responded two minutes later when senior defensemen Leslie Jarvis tapped the puck home after a scramble in front of the net. With Cameron down on the ice, Jarvis managed to muscle the puck across the goal line a second before the net was knocked off its moorings.

The Lakers took the lead at the 3:54 mark of the second period when senior forward Melissa Seamont sent alternate captain Mady Paul into the top of the Spartans’ zone.

Paul snapped a wrist shot that fell from Cameron’s glove and went through her legs for the goal, giving the Lakers a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

Castleton State tied the score at the 12:14 mark of the third period. Samantha McNeil took a shot from the point that deflected off the stick of Brie Narodowy, who was stationed in front.

Despite losing the lead, the Lakers remained focused, composed, and confident leading up to their victory in overtime.

“That’s the veteran leadership,” Dillon said. “We were in that position a lot last year. One of the things I told them before we started the season was that you have to win the tight games. To be a successful program, you have to win the games on the road. You have to win the 2-1 games and you have to be able to come from behind. We did two of those things tonight.”

The win against Castleton came one night after the Lakers won their season opener after scoring five goals against the New England College Pilgrims.

Senior captain Olivia Boersen scored twice and freshmen forwards Erika Truschke, Ashley Lyman and Bridget Harmlin each scored their first collegiate goals in the 5-0 win.

“For kids that looked like they were going to toss their cookies before the game, they did fine,” Dillon said. “They did really, really well. We had three of them with their first Lakers goal. Hopefully it’s the start of many more.”

Boersen got the scoring started for the Lakers at 5:03 of the first period, scoring off a feed from the point from freshman forward Brennan Butler.

Butler blocked a clearing attempt from Pilgrim defender Andrea St. Onge. After gaining control of the puck on the blue line, Butler passed to Boersen, who was stationed in front of goalkeeper Lauren Hopps. Hopps, who made 43 saves for the Pilgrims, had no chance to stop Boersen’s shot.

The Lakers doubled their lead at the 6:36 mark of the second period when Lyman, after winning a face off, passed to Hamlin, who slapped a one-timer past the New England goalie.

Truschke increased the Oswego State lead at 17:49 of the second period when, after a scrum in front of Hopps’ goal, Truschke found the loose puck and put it home.

“I had the puck in the neutral zone,” Truschke said. “I didn’t see anyone coming with me, so I just took the shot, went around and just went back to the net and my teammate got the puck in front of the net. She took the shot…I hit the open goal. We didn’t really know who scored, we all just celebrated.”

Truschke got her second point of the game when she moved the puck through the Pilgrims’ defense and took a shot that was saved by Hopps. Lyman flipped the rebound over Hopps’ pads for the fourth Laker goal of the game.

Dillon was happy with the way her young players applied what they had been working on in practice to game.

“We focused on the system that we’ve been working on and playing within a frame work and they did a nice job of that,” Dillon said.

Boersen capped off the game’s scoring with exactly seven minutes to play in the final period. Senior forwards Emma Smetaniuk and Melissa Seamont played a give-and-go into the Pilgrims’ zone.

After Smetaniuk’s shot was blocked by a defender, Boersen swooped in to blast the puck past Hopps for her second goal of the contest.

Dillon said she could not be happier with her captain’s performance to start the season.

“She’s emerging as a true leader,” Dillon said. “She plays with her heart on her sleeve. She’s the emotional and often, the physical leader of our team. But today, she started the goal scoring. So how fitting is it for our captain in her senior year to get it started for us?”

The Lakers’ dominated the Pilgrims in both puck possession and shots. They outshot New England 48 to 11, holding them to just four shots over the last two periods.

The Lakers’ forecheck was suffocating for most of the game, something that wasn’t always present last season. New England only had 14 players on the bench, a fact that was not lost on Dillon and the rest of the Lakers.

“They have a short bench. That’s what we told before them game,” Dillon said. “They’re going to get tired. We can wear them down. Focus on the D. Get on them quickly…It really seemed to help.”

Though not called upon very often, Cote stopped the few chances that New England was able to muster up, recording 11 saves, most of which came in the first period.

Cote only played one game last season after hurting her shoulder and being forced to get season-ending surgery.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to come back,” Cote said. “The girls played an unreal game, which made it really easy for me, but I’m glad to be back on the ice. I had a smile on my face the whole game.”

Dillon said she was happy her goalie back on the ice.

“It was nice to see her back between the pipes,” Dillon said of Cote. “She worked really hard, often by herself on her rehab. A shoulder injury takes forever. You have to be really displaced to get back into the net and I’m glad to see that pay off for her.”

With her team preparing to start conference play this weekend, Dillon is happy with where her team currently stands.

“I think we’re off to a good start,” she said. “We have good energy I think we’re in good shape.”

The Lakers will head on the road to face off with the Potsdam Bears (1-1) in a weekend series. The teams will play Saturday and Sunday, with both games slated to start at 3 p.m.

The team returns to Oswego on Nov. 16 when it hosts Neumann University.

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