Familar foe Utica forces Buffalo State out of SUNYAC playoffs


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Junior defender/forward Nikki Kirchberger helped lead Buffalo State to a ten-win season and the fifth spot in the ECAC West.

Andrew Kuczkowski, Reporter

The 2014-15 Buffalo State women’s hockey season came to an end after losing to Utica, 4-1 in the first round of the ECAC Playoffs on Saturday. Buffalo State had its chances, but struggled to find the back of the net.

Buffalo State squared off against Utica three times in just eight days. The Bengals tied and lost to Utica to close out the regular season, then fell short again this past weekend.

The Bengals were looking for redemption against the Pioneers after the loss just seven days earlier cost them home ice advantage in the playoff game.

That proved to be crucial, because at home against Utica, the Bengals started off strong, outshooting Utica by double digits. When away against Utica, the Bengals couldn’t get the puck to the net and were outshot by three.

The Bengals had five power play opportunities, but only converted on one. Freshman forward Brooke Krantz had the lone goal for the Bengals two minutes into the second period to tie the game at one.

Utica then took the lead just under two minutes into the second period, and would never look back, scoring two more unanswered goals to secure the win and finish off the Bengals.

Utica finished with a slim 30-28 shot advantage, as Silva was solid in net for the Bengals and helped to keep them in the game throughout. The Bengals lacked a strong finish though, managing just six shots on net in the final period.

Junior forward Morgan Reed had a hat trick against the Bengals and senior forward Kelsey Dowdall scored the third goal of the game to put her team up by two.

Utica advances to the semifinals and will travel to take on No. 1 Elmira this Saturday.

The playoff loss was the final game in a Bengal uniform for senior captain Kara Goodwin and alternate captain Jeyna Minnick.

Goodwin leaves the program, after scoring 42 goals in her three years as a Bengal, 20 of which were scored this season. Goodwin will solidify her spot as a close second to Emma Wadsworth in the all-time goal scorer list, who played for the Bengals from 2000-04 and scored 45 goals.

The Bengals’ 10-win year was a huge improvement over last year, in which they won only three contests. The 10 wins was also just one win short of tying a school record 11, which was set back in 2000-01.

Last year, Buffalo State ended the season playing with essentially half of a team, having only 12 players, including two goalies.

This season, freshman goalie Justine Silva and freshman forward Erin Gehen stood out to lead the Bengals into a new era.

Silva started 24 out of the 26 games this season. She ended the season averaging 2.76 goals allowed per game with a save percentage of .898 percent.

Gehen played in all 26 games this season. She was second on the team in points with seven goals and 14 assists.

Buffalo State had ten freshmen on its roster this year. With a young, talented squad with a lot of potential, a bright future for the team seems likely.