Silva, Women’s Hockey shutouts Oswego, 2-0

Justine Silva’s senior year didn’t go quite as she had planned but the SUNY Buffalo State Women’s hockey goalie is getting into her rhythm at the right time.

A knee injury in early November took her out of action for a month, putting a long pause on her final year with the Bengals.

“It was extremely hard. A month off isn’t good for anyone,” Silva said. “An injury is one of the most depressing times an athlete will face. But in order for me to help out, I needed to be healthy. Thanks to our athletic staff, I was able to recuperate and come back and really be on my game for the tail end (of the regular season) and hopefully the playoffs.”

Silva was on her game Saturday, picking up a 29-save shutout as Buffalo State took down the Oswego

Lakers 2-0 in Northeast women’s hockey league action.

“She came back with a vengeance and she’s been the backbone of our team this season,” Buffalo State head coach Jennifer Wilson said of Silva. “I’m excited to see her back and healthy. I think going into some of our harder games she’s going to be a big component to continue to pull us forward.”

The first period was rather sluggish for both sides ending with neither team finding the back of the net.

The Bengals got a bit of a scare at the end of their penalty kill in the first. An Oswego forward was coming hard toward the net and a forward crashed into Silva taking her into the post. The senior was slow to get up but remained in the game.

The Lakers got the man-advantage about halfway through the second period. Oswego had many chances to score, getting several pucks on net with the 4-on-3 chance, but the Lakers could not find the back of the net.

After killing the penalty, the momentum swung in favor of Buffalo State as they picked up their own power-play chance. The Bengals didn’t let it go to waste as Kayla Kopinski sent the puck to Brooke Krantz who shot it in off the crossbar for the goal.

Buffalo State went right back to work and just 1:07 later they scored again when former Laker Rachel Lenard powered her way to the net and put her team up 2-0 with eight minutes left in the period.

“I was super nervous,” said Lenard, who scored two goals in the Bengals’ 4-1 win over Oswego on Friday.

“The was a lot more on the plate for the team and me personally. Coming in I knew had to forget about the fact that I used to play for them.”

Buff State picked up four big points this weekend as they hold the second seed in the conference standings and now lead the third-place Lakers by seven points.

“We knew it was do or die,” Wilson said. “We want to get home ice advantage in the playoffs. We got back to the basics this week in practice. We saw more play development happening on the ice.”

The Lakers had their best chance to score with 11 minutes left the game. After the two Buffalo State defensemen ran into each other at the point, losing the puck. Oswego captain Olivia Ellis a breakaway chance but Silva made the stop.

Last weekend in a 0-0 tie with Potsdam, Silva got her school-record ninth career shutout. But her focus remains on team goals.

“I’m still trying to grasp it,” Silva said of the record. “I have an amazing team in front of me. It means a lot to my team. I came in from freshman and from then on we’ve left a legacy.”


The Women’s hockey team will be back in action next weekend as they host NEWHL foe Cortland, Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.