Women’s hockey struggles in season-opening weekend

Junior Kara Goodwin scored a goal in the Bengals 5-4 loss to Chatham this weekend.

Junior Kara Goodwin scored a goal in the Bengals’ 5-4 loss to Chatham this weekend.

The Buffalo State women’s hockey team opened its season with three straight home losses last weekend, including two ECAC losses.

Buffalo State fell to conference foe Chatham, 3-0, on Friday and 5-4 in overtime on Saturday before getting blown out by Adrian, 12-1, on Sunday.

The Bengals opened up their season against the Cougars Friday, looking to improve upon last season’s 6-18-1 record, which included only three wins in conference.

After a scoreless first period, Chatham broke the scoreless tie with a goal from Brianna Rice with 18:37 left in the second. The Bengals held the Cougars in check until a Chatham power play set up Rice’s second goal of the game late in the period.

The Cougars added their third goal with almost 15 minutes left to play in the third period.

Chatham dominated the faceoff circle, winning 67 percent of the faceoffs. It also had the Bengals on the penalty kill often, having seven power plays, including four in the second period. The Cougars outshot the Bengals, 40-23, with Buffalo State goaltender Jordan Lee making 37 stops.

The Bengals played the Cougars in a rematch one day later.

Both teams held each other to minimal opportunities, and both went to the locker room in a scoreless tie. The Bengals gained the one-man advantage and capitalized, with Nikki Kirchberger putting the puck past Cougar goaltender Tara Treloar to give Buffalo State a 1-0 lead. The unassisted goal was Kirchberger’s first of the season.

The Cougars answered with two goals of their own, both late in the period to give Chatham the 2-1 advantage going into the second intermission.

Kara Goodwin scored early in the third period for the Bengals, tying the game. Forty-four seconds later, the Cougars responded with a goal to break the tie. The Cougars gained a power play midway through the third and made the most of it, with Emily Bronk scoring her second of the game to give the Cougars a two-goal lead.

Kirchberger scored again for the Bengals four minutes later, cutting the deficit to one goal. And with 3:30 remaining, the Bengals tied the game on a power-play goal from Jackie Madison.

The comeback forced overtime, but the elation was short-lived, as Chatham scored 4:22 into the overtime period. The 5-4 loss put the Bengals at 0-2 on the season. Chatham outshot the Bengals again, this time, 45-18. Sophomore goaltender Sarah Quigley made 40 saves in the loss.

Jackie Madison, who scored a power-play goal for the Bengals, was proud of how her team fought until the end against Chatham.

“Saturday we played a great game, our best game of the weekend,” Madison said. “We fought back after being down two goals to send it into overtime, and we never gave up and we showed a lot of heart.”

The Bengals capped off the weekend with a non-conference game against the Adrian Bulldogs.

Lee got the start for the Bengals, but was pulled after conceding four goals midway through the first period. Quigley relieved Lee in goal, and made nine saves in nine minutes, but also allowed four goals. After one period, the Bengals were down 8-0.

Lee returned to the net again to start the second period, and the Bulldog attack slowed, though still scoring three more goals on 23 second-period shots to give Adrian an 11-0 lead. The Bulldogs ended up outshooting the Bengals 67-6 for the game.

The Bengals broke the shutout in the third period with a Jeyna Minnick goal, but were defeated 12-1.

Although the score didn’t show it, the players took positives from the loss.

“We had some trouble doing the simple things that we know we can do so well so there were a lot of times we were panicking for no reason,” Kara Goodwin said. “The third period was our best without a doubt. You saw so much heart from a lot of girls.”

The Bengals have been dealing with a shorter bench than usual this season, which can cause fatigue quickly, as players have to play more minutes each game. This has been an adjustment this team has had to make, but the Bengals still think they can improve their game and get closer as a team.

“We made a ton of mistakes but when we did make good plays boy did it look good,” sophomore defenseman Dakota Broderick said. “Even with our short bench we did our best as a team and individually and I’m excited to see us improve and see what we can do further into the season.”

The Bengals next take to the road for a doubleheader against Plattsburgh, on Saturday and Sunday.

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