Ariella Haas battles

Oswego State's Ariella Haas (right) battles with a Buffalo State player during the Lakers' 8-1 win over the Bengals Saturday at the Deborah F. Stanley Arena. Haas finished the game with an assist.

OSWEGO — The Oswego State women’s hockey team opened its first Northeast Women’s Hockey League game with an 8-1 win over Buffalo State Saturday.

It was the Lakers’ first conference game since they lost in the championship to Plattsburgh State on March 8, 2020.

Oswego State received offensive contributions throughout the lineup with goals from every line and assists from two of the three defensive pairs. While there were plenty of goals to go around, they did not come until the second frame.

The first period was controlled by the Lakers pretty much from the start, leading the shot totals 9-0 through eight minutes of play. The shot differential only increased for the Lakers as it got to 20 as the end of the period neared. 

Angelina Cruzal opened the scoring for Buffalo State with under two minutes to go. Cruzal beat a Laker defender to the puck just along the goal line before picking it up, sweeping toward the front of the net and jamming it home on the far side. 

While the Lakers were winning the shot battle, they did not have their best period, head coach Mark Digby said.

“We were an inch off on every play. Pucks are coming out to us and rather than moving our feet to surround them, we were moving our hands to get to them. Once we got our sticks on pucks, it took us that spit second too long to get rid of them, (allowing Buffalo State) to get their stick on pucks or close off a lane,” he said. “Those are little plays that over the course of the year, if you let that drift in, it slowly slows your whole game down. Once we addressed that, the first power play at the start of the second period wasn’t some tic-tac-toe pretty play. It was receive a pass, make a pass, receive a pass, make a pass.”

That first power play led to the first goal of the game for the Lakers, even though the goal came at even strength. Just moments after Buffalo State’s Gabby McCrory exited the penalty box, Oswego State’s Mack Hull put a rebound home to tie it 1-1. 

Hull was on the doorstep and was able to tap it into an open net, with assists from Megan Teachout and Chyne Kennedy.

Just 1:39 later, Kyleigh Grugin gave the Lakers the lead with her first goal of the season. She fired a hard wrist shot past Buffalo State’s Jessica Auge. Emily Gustafson recorded an assist on the goal.

Philomena Teggart led the defense, allowing just seven shots on goal from the Bengals. A big reason behind that was Buffalo State’s inability to enter the zone with the puck and Oswego State’s excellent gap control.

“Our gaps tonight for our (defense) were way better than they’ve been, and when our forwards are back pressuring the way they were, that allows our (defense) to do what they did. If our forwards aren’t back pressuring, if our forwards aren’t getting there, then it’s easy for our (defense) to back off and play it safe because they have to,” Digby said. “I thought all six of them did a much better job with that tonight. It was fun to watch.”

Aside from the first goal of the game, which came on her first shot faced, Bryn White stood tall in net for the Lakers, stopping six shots. Digby added that he was impressed with White’s maturity in net, despite facing minimal action.

“For a sophomore goalie which in reality is a freshman, how she is able to maintain like that, she is mature beyond her years,” Digby said. “She had to make a couple big saves in the third period. I think the best opportunity they had, they missed the net, but that was a pretty heavy puck.”

Morgan Shines rounded out the scoring in the second period off  a one-timer from inside the faceoff dots, giving the Lakers a 3-1 lead and Taylor Hudon her first assist of the season. 

The Lakers kept scoring with  two goals in the opening three minutes. Rachel Corbett scored 49 seconds in on the power play, the lone power-play goal of the night, while Grugin scored moments later for her second of the game. Avery Webster recorded her first of two assists on the Corbett goal.

Shines added her second of the day at 8:21 of the third period from Ariella Haas. Then, Sophia Kyrkostsas scored at 10:52 from Teachout and Webster before Mia Conboy rounded out the scoring at 16:29 with an unassisted goal.

Oswego State continued to pour on chance after chance, ending the game with 100 shot attempts, and 59 of those were on net. Regardless of the margin, Digby was most impressed with the depth of scoring his team provided.

The Lakers return to the ice Sunday for another NEWHL contest against SUNY Potsdam. The Bears are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Morrisville State.

“Our best defensive line had three goals,” Digby said. “Kyleigh Grugin, [Aislinn] McAleer, Conboy and Gustafson, they were good. Kylie had two goals, and Mia had one. ... I think every line had something tonight so that's a good sign for us moving forward.”

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