The Oswego State Lakers were dominant over the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons resulting in a 4-1 victory for the Lakers. With the victory, Oswego State swept the season series against the Red Dragons, and gained two more crucial points in the Northeast Women’s Hockey League. The Lakers have clinched the No. 3 seed in the NEWHL playoffs.
The Lakers were pinned in their own zone for a good portion of the first minute, resulting in the Lakers to have to numerous shots, and Mariah Madrigal stopped many shots to keep the game knotted at zero. Victoria Blake led all skaters with three blocked shots. Madrigal had six saves during the first period.
“We needed to play our game, we weren’t moving our feet very well, we were getting pushed around,” head coach Diane Dillon said. “We knew that Cortland was going to come out hard. We [told the team], ‘hey, let’s get back to what we do well, and kick it up a notch.'”
Oswego State had much more offense in the second period, producing shots against SUNY Cortland’s Rachel Farmer, who stopped 12 of 13 shots during the period. Katie DeVoe scored her second goal of the season for the Red Dragons at 13:15 of the period to give her team the lead. Carly Weigold was credited with the assist. Despite pleads from Madrigal about goaltender interference, the call stood.
However, Jean-Marie Padden, who was all over the ice in the game, scored at 16:51 off of a rebound shot from Sarah Grupp. All three Laker forwards were crowding Farmer’s crease, resulting in the stuffed-in goal. The goal is Padden’s fifth of the season.
“She’s getting better and better, as a freshman you’re seeing her get more comfortable,” Dillon said. “I think that line combination that’s a little new for us of Grupp, [Padden] and [Natalie] Giglio is moving the puck pretty well. Jeanie’s one of those kid’s that’s a deceptive player. She had a nice game.”
Olivia Ellis scored during the third period to give the Lakers a 2-1 advantage over the Red Dragons. Her goal, the 42nd of her career at Oswego State, was a wrist shot in the slot that snuck by Farmer on the stick-side.
Despite strong chances from Laura Thacker and others, the power play unit, which was given five opportunities in the game, was unsuccessful on all attempts. The only man-advantage goal scored was during a delayed penalty, where Madrigal skated to the bench for an extra attacker. Kate Randazzo scored from the blue line to give the Lakers a 3-1 advantage.
“You’ve gotta give some credit to Rachel Farmer,” Dillon said. “I thought we had some nice looks, and a beautiful deflection from Thacker. I think that Cortland pays the price for their teammates. They block shots, they’re tough on us, they’re physical. I was impressed with the way our power play moved the puck. They didn’t panic.
Julieann White closed out scoring at 18:39 of the third period with an empty net goal. White has three goals in the last two games, after a two-goal performance against SUNY Cortland on Feb 9. White’s goal was assisted by Ellis, who had two assists in the game after an assist on the Randazzo goal, as well. Ellis now has 66 assists in her career.
Overall, Oswego State had eight shots in the third period, six of which were blocked by Farmer. The last goal, as an empty-netted goal, does not count against the goaltender.
“I was very happy with the third period, they found a way to win,” Dillon said. “We challenged them as a coaching staff in between the periods. They fought their tails off, and came away with a win in the third.”
Madrigal made a total of 14 saves in the victory. Ellis notched three more points to her career record. White posted another multi-point game after an assist on the Ellis goal.
With the victory, Oswego State now looks toward SUNY Potsdam on Feb. 16 and 17. The Lakers will travel to the Bears on Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup, and then come back to the Marano Campus Center Ice Arena on Saturday for an afternoon matchup. The latter will also serve as the team’s senior day, recognizing the seven seniors on the team.
SUNY Potsdam is currently within a weekend series against Plattsburgh State. The Bears were shutout 4-0 against the Cardinals on Feb. 10. They play again on Feb. 11. Oswego State is 1-1 against the Bears from earlier this season.
“Going against Potsdam, we split with them before, it’s also our senior day, there’s a lot going on,” Dillon said. “This is about momentum, keeping the engine rolling. We’ve gotta clean up our defense a little bit, but we need to take these games as seriously as any others. It’ll be a good couple of games, and a good week.”
The Lakers now have the No. 3 seed clinched for the NEWHL playoffs, meaning they will face Buffalo State on Feb. 24 for the first round of the playoffs. Plattsburgh State has clinched No. 1 and SUNY Potsdam has clinched No. 4. The Lakers are 1-3 against Buffalo State on the season. However, in similar fashion, Dillon recalled the same situation two years ago.
“We can’t look past this weekend, we still have a whole week left of regular season,” Dillon said. “We’ll worry about Buffalo next week. We were in this situation a couple of years ago. We went to Buffalo for the playoffs and spanked them. It’s a good rivalry with Buffalo. We’ll see who comes out on top.”
Oswego State (10-11-2, 6-7-1) will look to increase their advantage over SUNY Potsdam (10-9-2, 3-8-2) this weekend and celebrate the senior class’s accomplishments since the 2014-2015 season. SUNY Cortland (8-14-2, 2-13-1) will play two more non-conference games in the next week before concluding their 2017-2018 campaign.