The Oswego State women’s hockey team dropped their first two games of the season at home against the Adrian College Bulldogs. The season opener on Oct. 28 saw the Lakers lone goal in the back-to-back as they lost 4-1 and again by a score of 5-0 on Oct. 29.
In the season opener, things were competitive through the first half of the game, the Lakers were down early as Adrian scored two first-period goals off the sticks of Kaleigh Cadorette and Jessica VonRuden. The Lakers were able to answer in the second period when freshman forward Kaylin Taddia scored her first goal in an Oswego State jersey to make the score 2-1. Unfortunately, Adrian was able to find the back of the net with just 2:50 left in the period on a goal from Callie Wollshlager to give her team a two-goal lead once again. A third-period goal from Karmen Anderson made it a 4-1 game and was the final goal in game one. The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive season and looked equally as good in their opener. Newcomer Lexi Levy made her Lakers debut in the game and looked solid despite surrendering four goals.
The following game things were even more one-sided as the Bulldogs took care of business on the ice, defeating the Lakers 5-0 to complete the sweep of the back-to-back. Johanna Heibert got the start for the Lakers and did what she could to keep her team in the game, but Adrian was once again overwhelming. Things got tense in the second game, as there were a total of 15 penalties handed out. The Bulldogs had two goals from Anderson, one on the power play and one shorthanded and goals from Wollshlager, Tia Lascelle and Reaghan Pietrowski. Bulldogs goaltender Sophie Goldberg played outstanding in both games, stopping 16 of 17 shots in game one and stopping all 21 of the shots she faced in game two.
Though the opening two games for the Lakers did not turn out the way they wanted, there were still some players who made good first impressions. Levy was able to stand her ground in game one, showing promise that she could eventually take over the starting goaltender role at some point in her career. Taddia was the only goal scorer in both games for the Lakers and played important minutes on both the power play and the penalty kill.
There are certain aspects of the Lakers game that will need to be touched upon. The power play had chances to score, but was unable to finish and struggled to get pucks on the net. The passing in their own zone was a little reckless, leading to multiple turnovers and allowing Adrian to dominate the time of possession.
The Lakers now head into conference play, which could be the true beginning of their season as the two non-conference games against Adrian are behind them. Their next two games are against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 on the road. Last season the Lakers went 5-0-1 in their games against those opponents and outscored them by a total of 24-7. Though the Lakers were able to handle those opponents last year, the confidence level could be different this year as they have already dropped two games. Head coach Mark Digby believes that the confidence is there for his team, but it took some time to get there after the losses.
“On Monday confidence was not popping, anytime you drop two games like that especially when you have such high expectations, it’s hard,” Digby said. “We try to find root causes for why those things happen and when you figure out how to fix those causes, like today, then you start to build that confidence.”
Production from the new players on this roster will be key for the Lakers success this season. Many of them did show promise throughout the two games, especially Augsburg University transfer Kenzie Malone. Making a good first impression was important for Malone in the first two games.
“I think it’s pretty important to make a good first impression because no one knows how I played when I first got here,” Malone said. “I want to make sure that I’m putting myself out there and show them what I can do.”
Another player who looked faster than anyone else on the ice for the Lakers was Ashlyin McGrath. The sophomore was lethal on the penalty kill and a headache for Adrian on every shift. Mcgrath takes pride in her work ethic whenever her line is called on to take the ice.
“With women’s hockey you can go pro after college, but I might not have the opportunity to do that,” McGrath said. “I really just want to give my full effort out there whenever I can.”
The Lakers take on SUNY Potsdam on Nov. 4 as they look to pick up their first win of the season.
Photo via Oswego Athletics