OSWEGO — For the fourth-straight season, the Oswego State women’s hockey team has started its regular season with back-to-back victories after sweeping Castleton University this past weekend.
Oswego State (2-0) will continue its stretch of road games today and Saturday against top-ranked Plattsburgh State (3-0, 2-0 Northeast Women’s Hockey League). The Cardinals are the defending NCAA Division III national champions.
The two teams squared off five times last year, including the Northeast Women’s Hockey League semifinals. The Cardinals won all five contests.
The Lakers are just two years removed from tying the Cardinals and three years removed from their first-ever win over Plattsburgh State. The Lakers and Cardinals will meet three times this season, two on Plattsburgh’s home ice this weekend and then a home matchup for Oswego State Jan. 15.
“It’s early in the season. We’ve never really played Plattsburgh this early,” Dillon said. “This will be a good early test. But we’re really focused on our side of the puck and what we’re doing.”
A lot of positive situations came out of the Lakers’ road series against Castleton last weekend.
Philomena Teggart and Eryn Stewart led the Lakers with four-point efforts. Teggart was named one of the Oswego State athletes of the week. Following closely behind were freshmen Megan Teachout and Morgan Shines, who both had three points against Castleton.
Both Teachout’s and Shines’ goals were the first official goals of their careers. Teachout scored twice in the exhibition game against William Smith College, but they didn’t count toward her regular-season stats.
“To contribute right off the bat, that’s huge,” Oswego State head coach Diane Dillon said. “We’re not a team that’s over-recruited so that there’s 10 kids in the stands. If we bring you here and you’re a hockey player that wants to play, we’re going to put you in the lineup.”
Special teams, including on the power play, was important for Oswego State. The player-advantage capitalized three times, once in Friday’s 5-2 victory, and twice in Saturday’s 3-2 win. The Lakers’ second power-play goal scored by Eryn Stewart was the game-winning goal at 17:33 of the third period.
All of last season, Oswego State only scored six power-play goals on 97 opportunities, finishing with a 6.2 percent success rate. Dillon mentioned that associate head coach Mark Digby has “done an outstanding job” with the power play.
While the power play has improved, the Lakers also racked up the penalties with 34 penalty minutes over the course of the weekend. There were nine penalties in the first game and eight penalties in the second game. Oswego State allowed only one power play goal. Dillon said there was some inconsistency in between with the referees.
“You’ll see a lot of the mainstays, like Philomena Teggart and Kate Randazzo, running the top (of the power play). But, they’re another year older and another year experienced,” she said. “If we go up to Plattsburgh and put ourselves in the box like that, it’ll be a much rougher afternoon. We’re not going to survive like that.”
Dillon also highlighted the team’s ability to “do the little things” that don’t show up on the score sheet, such as blocking shots or taking “a hit to get the puck out of the zone.” The Lakers blocked 15 shots, with Stewart and Bailey Thomas both blocking three shots each.
“When you look at Eryn, she’s a senior and a leader on this team. She’s showing our younger players the things that you have to do to be successful,” Dillon said. “You can’t just play one end of the ice. She was outstanding.”