Rachel Corbett carries puck

Oswego junior forward Rachel Corbett skates into the offensive zone with the puck. 

OSWEGO — There’s a sense of appreciation now for the Oswego State women’s hockey team.

Following some postponements and cancellations the week prior, the Lakers finally played their first game of 2022 Sunday, resulting in a 3-2 loss against Utica College. 

Mack Hull and Kyleigh Grugin both recorded goals for Oswego State in the loss, while Amanda Zenstein and Sophia Kyrkostas tacked on assists. Bryn White made 23 saves in the loss. 

While there aren’t any doubts that Plattsburgh State and SUNY Cortland are coming to town today and Saturday, there’s an excitement to get back to a game day routine. That also includes the matchup at Morrisville State Tuesday.

Head coach Mark Digby and the team are, as he said, “seeing what a lot of teams around the country are seeing: you have to be adaptable day-to-day.”

“There’s days when things are normal and everything’s on track. Then there’s other days where you’ve got to go on the fly,” Digby said. “That’s been fun to watch how that’s all handled, as stress as it’s been for the players.”

As Oswego State has handled the adversity of pauses, cancellations and postponements with COVID-19, Digby also knows that several teams had to manage the “uncertainty of things” and the “stress about safety and health restrictions” last season, when most teams weren’t allowed to play.

“But at the same time, looking back at least year (while not playing), I’d give anything to have these problems,” Digby said. “We’re trying to appreciate the hard times as much as we enjoy the good times. So far the players have been great about all the changes and hopefully we can come out and put it together on the ice this weekend.”

Oswego State has already seen Plattsburgh State once. The then-No. 1 Cardinals shut out the Lakers 5-0 at the Deborah F. Stanley Arena on Nov. 13. Joanna Hiebert made 17 saves in the game.

Now-No. 2 Plattsburgh (10-2-0, 7-0 NEWHL) has five players averaging at least a point per game. Ivy Boric leads the team with 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) followed by Sara Krauseneck, who has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists). 

Annie Katonka (17 points), Mattie Norton (15 points) and Nicole Unsworth (13 points) round out the top five. Goaltender Ashley Davis has played and started in seven games with a 1.85 goals against average and a .908 save percentage on top of two shutouts.

As for Cortland, the Saturday tilt against the Red Dragons will close out the three-game NEWHL regular-season series between Oswego State and Cortland. In the second game on Dec. 3, the Lakers scored three unanswered goals to come back for a 5-4 win. 

Hull scored the game-winner at 12:28 of the third period. Also recording goals were Gurgin, Chyne Kennedy, Simone Bednarik and Lizzie Burke. Hiebert stopped 22 shots.

Cortland (10-2-0, 6-2-0 NEWHL) received a vote in the most recent USCHO Division III women’s hockey polls. Grace Schnorr leads the team with 23 points in 12 games (15 goals, eight assists). Katie DeVoe (14 points), Kait Bourgeois (11 points), Mia Hlasnick (10 points) and Amanda Gaffney (10 points) round out the top five. 

Molly Georgen (seven games played) and Anna Hamid (six games played) have split time this season. The former boasts a 1.65 goals against average and a .926 save percentage, while the latter has a 1.40 goals against average and a .944 save percentage.

“You don’t care who, you don’t care when. You just want to play,” Digby said. “We’ve been back for 17 days and have played one game. That’s hard.”

The Lakers travel to Morrisville for just their second mid-week game of the 2021-22 season. Digby mentioned there aren’t any major concerns when it comes to routine or rhythm with the quick 72-hour turnaround.

“Quite frankly, the players would play (games) 10 days in a row if that’s how we scheduled it. They just want to play,” he said. “Getting to Monday, getting to the bus on Tuesday, that’ll bring a little bit of normalcy for them.” 

But Morrisville isn’t even on the coaching staff’s radar yet. First it’s “trying to nail down some things” prior to the games against Plattsburgh and Cortland.

“We’ve got to do a better job with certain aspects of the game and our approach to the game. … Certain things don’t just get fixed because you’re playing a good team and you feel like you have to,” Digby said. “It seems like we’re hopefully coming out of this on the positive side. … Once we can get through Monday or Tuesday of next week, everything will start rolling after that.”