OSWEGO — The Oswego High School varsity girls hockey team opened its abbreviated season on Friday, falling 5-0 to Skaneateles at Crisafulli Rink.
While the Lakers (1-0) controlled play most of the way, the Buccaneers (0-1) stayed close into the third period.
Although no fans were allowed in the arena, the Oswego players showed heart, effort, and enthusiasm throughout the contest.
“We’re just excited to have a chance to play,” Coach Mark Fierro said. “Some of these girls haven’t played a game in almost a year, so it was good for them to get out and play.”
The Skaneateles roster includes 10 players who are juniors or seniors. Their experience, size, and skill showed against Oswego, which has just four players who are juniors or seniors.
“We came out a little hesitant in the first with a lot of nerves. We’ve got a lot of young girls that haven’t played before, and that showed I think in the first,” Fierro said. “We talked to them between the first and the second and told them to calm down and just go out there and work hard, and they did. I thought we had a really good second period. We just didn’t get the bounces. Then in the third, the score was not really indicative of the play. It was more back and forth. We had some chances. The puck just bounced off our sticks. We didn’t get enough pucks to the net, but when we did, we didn’t have bodies in there. We didn’t have any support for the puck down low. We need to do a little better with that.”
The Lakers got goals from Adriana Barbuto, Scout Oudemool, Lizzy Sachar, Rachelle Cain, and Rebecca Cain. Recording assists were Emily Evans, Barbuto, Molly Mahoney, Campbell Torrey, Alexis Fassinger, and Oudemool. Goalie Isabelle Wells made 10 saves for the shutout.
Oswego starting goalie Nyah Dawson made 17 saves. Chelsea Storms had four saves in the final 7:48 of the game.
The Lakers enjoyed several scoring chances in the first period. Rebecca Cain’s wraparound try was blocked by Dawson, and Oudemool’s backhand flip on a rebound went just wide left from close range. Moments later, another Skaneateles shot was blocked by the Bucs’ Marisa Wallace.
With 9:58 to go in the first period, the Lakers got on the board. Barbuto scored off a centering pass from Evans to make it 1-0.
Oudemool then scored from Barbuto with 8:14 left in the stanza.
Oswego had some strong offensive rushes in the latter stages of the period, but could not capitalize. Meanwhile, Dawson made some big stops against Rachelle Cain and Oudemool to keep the score at 2-0.
The Bucs played better in the second period. In the opening moments, a centering pass from Wallace nearly connected with a teammate in front. With just under 13 minutes left in the period, the Bucs’ Wallace skated in alone on goal, and her wrist shot was denied by Wells. Other Oswego chances in the period included a shot by Amanda Connelly that was blocked, and a pass from Jordan Caroccio that was deflected just wide by Connelly.
The Lakers took a bit of the wind out of Oswego’s sails early in the third period when Sachar scored on a rebound. A minute later, Rachelle Cain scored on another rebound. The puck came to her as she was stationed on the left post.
Rebecca Cain scored with 7:48 to play. Deep in the Oswego zone, she blocked a pass with her stick, gathered the puck, and shot it home to make it 5-0.
Storms played the rest of the way in net for Oswego and stopped all four shots she faced. Offensively, the Bucs had some decent opportunities with good pressure by Mia Fierro, Isabella Koproski, and Kathleen Winchek, among others.
Coach Fierro said he was pleased with the players’ effort.
“They plugged away right to the end,” he said.
The next scheduled game for Oswego is March 1 at Skaneateles. The Bucs and Lakers will square off four times in all this season. The other two games for Oswego will be against defending state champion Clinton.
“Clinton is loaded. They were loaded last year and they won it all. This Skaneateles team is very good. There are no weak spots out there. They’re solid, they’re big, and they can skate,” Fierro said. “They kind of took it to us a little today. We’ve got to get better and we’ll give them a better game next time, we hope.”
The coach said his goal for the team is simply to keep improving.
“We want to get better every day in practice, and as the games go we want to get better as we go. There is no postseason, so we don’t have anything to shoot for that way,” Fierro said. “We want to see progress, both individually and as a team. Just get them out here to work and have fun. These girls love being out here on the ice and being with each other. They’re all good friends, so this is a lot of fun for them.”