The Oswego State Lakers ended their last home game of their regular season with a 3-2 win against the Buffalo State Bengals, overcoming distractions, a slow start from behind and a player being taken off the ice by EMTs.
The Lakers were coming off a win against the Bengals on Friday, bringing the team back to home turf for their senior night game. The Bengals gained an early lead in this game though, with a goal by Jessica Carter at one minute in the first period, off a rebound where Rachael Farmer, the Lakers goalie, lost track of the puck. Associate head coach Mark Digby said that he thinks the Lakers had to overcome some hindrances before this game could go their way.
“All the extra distractions that go into a day like this and then you throw on top of it you’re playing an opponent that has nothing to lose,” Digby said. “They come out and are playing extremely hard. We’re near the top, they’re near the bottom. It’s hard to design a bigger trap game than this one.”
One of those distractions was that it was the Lakers senior night. Digby said that he was happy to see that on senior night, his seniors actually turned out and played well.
“Farmer was really good today; [Eryn] Stewart was good today,” Digby said. “They played like seniors today, it was nice to see them not just show up on senior day but show up and perform.”
The Lakers got a second wind after that early Buffalo goal, pouring on the aggression, so much so that Emma Morisette got a minor penalty for roughing, and Sara Cruise got another roughing penalty before they secured their first goal from Morgan Shines at 15:45 in the first period.
That goal from Shines gave the Lakers the momentum they needed to push in the second period, with both teams pushing hard. The Bengals took their second penalty of the game early on in the second period, with Cheyenne Matson going to the box for an interference penalty. The power play opportunity was wasted by the Lakers though, as their shots seemed to just miss the openings again and again.
Stewart broke the lull and grabbed another goal for the Lakers, assisted by Megan Teachout and Amber Thomas, at 10:26 in the second period.
The entire game was slowed by an injury shortly after, however. Thomas slammed into the boards moments after that second Lakers goal, and was taken off the ice by EMTs. Following that injury, both the Lakers and the Bengals played a slower game.
Matson went to the penalty box again for tripping at 9:20 in the third period, and this time the Lakers Emily Gustafson, assisted by Philomena Teggart and Stewart, took the power play opportunity and turned it into a goal, pushing ahead to a 2-point lead with the score 3 to 1.
The Bengals answered with a goal shortly after, from Natasha Steinle, at 11:38 that closed the gap. Digby said that his message to his team at this point was “don’t change anything.”
“I think when you have scenarios like that, late in the game, the key is to keep the players playing to themselves, not having them go out and push or get back on their heels, and I think we did that,” Digby said.
The Lakers will end their regular season with an away game against SUNY Canton next weekend where a win would secure them the number two seed and earn a home-ice advantage in the NEWHL playoffs.