OSWEGO — Associate head coach Mark Digby called this coming week “a player’s dream,” since the Oswego State women’s hockey team has three games in five days.
The Lakers (5-2-1, 3-2-1 Northeast Women’s Hockey League) will host SUNY Cortland (6-1-1, 4-1-1 NEWHL) Wednesday, travel to SUNY Canton (0-6-1, 0-6-1 NEWHL) Friday and play against Amherst College (2-2-2) Sunday at home.
Digby mentioned that Monday’s practice was the last “actual practice” of the semester, and the rest of this week’s practices will all involve some special teams focuses and adjusting to the next opponent.
“The reality is that, based on what happens (tonight), that could adjust the plan for Thursday. And based on what happens Friday could adjust the plan for Saturday,” he said. “The players were through the roof when we got done with practice and we just said, ‘OK, there you go. You have nothing but pregame practices for the rest of the semester.’”
Oswego State has already faced Cortland and Canton this season. The Lakers and Red Dragons tied 3-3 after Cortland scored three goals in five minutes to force overtime on Nov. 16. The game against the Kangaroos on Nov. 22 resulted in a 2-1 win for Oswego State.
After the game against the Lakers, Cortland won both of its games against Lebanon Valley College, 5-0 and 3-0, this past weekend. Goaltender Emily Steen made a combined 11 saves in both shutouts. Amanda Gaffney had four goals during the series, including a hat trick during the Saturday game.
The ‘Roos lost their lone game to Morrisville State since the last meeting against Oswego State. In a 4-1 loss, Verity Lewis was the only player from Canton to score. Brooke Susac made 25 saves in the loss.
Since the teams have already met each other, Digby said that knowing the other teams’ systems sometimes could help the preparation and mindset, but also hurt it.
“You want to make sure you’re going out and playing the game the right way and playing each scenario the way it comes up,” he added. “There were a lot of times against Cortland that we made the right play, we just didn’t execute it and we end up having to defend for a little bit longer. Whereas, come (tonight), we want to make those same plays. We’ve just got to execute.”
The last meeting between Oswego State and Amherst was on Dec. 8 of last season, resulting in a 2-1 win for the Lakers. Jean-marie Padden, who transferred from Oswego State this season, scored both goals. It was the first win over Amherst in program history.
“With it being a non-conference game, I don’t want to say there’s no pressure on it, but the meaning of that game is all internal,” Digby said. “You want to win because you want to win, not because you want to win so that you move up in the standings. I think we’ll have a lot to prove to ourselves at that point.”
A couple of weekends ago, Oswego State won both of its games against the Canton and Potsdam. In the game against Canton, Morgan Shines and Kyleigh Grugin both scored, while Grugin also chipped in an assist. Freshman Tia Trovato started in the game and earned her first collegiate win in the net.
In the 3-1 win over the Bears, all three of the Lakers’ goals came on the power play. Amber Thomas, Eryn Stewart and Grugin all scored. Rachael Farmer made 26 saves in the win.
“For any young goalie, to get your first start at home in that situation, I think it’s a huge confidence boost to get the win. Hopefully that helps her moving forward,” Digby said. “(Against Potsdam) I thought right from the drop of the puck, they came out the right way. We came out playing hard.”
Heading into the last weekend series before the winter break, Digby mentioned all the players are, “seeing value in what it is that they’re being asked to do.”
“Everybody right now is putting the needs ahead of the team (in front of) the needs of their own individual game,” he added. “Hopefully we can showcase what we’ve been able to build to over the course of the semester.”