Women’s hockey improves to 8-0 with weekend sweep of Chatham


Dave DeLuca/The Record file photo

Senior forward Nikki Kirchberger posted a hat trick in Buffalo State’s 4-1 win over Chatham on Saturday.

Louie DiBiase, Reporter

Buffalo State women’s hockey continued its undefeated season, improving to 8-0 after victories on Friday and Saturday against the Chatham University Cougars.

Both games ended in a 4-1 victory for the Bengals, who remain first in the ECAC West conference. Plattsburgh is also undefeated, but have played only six games at this point.

The visiting Chatham Cougars came into Friday’s matchup without a victory. Chatham failed to tally a goal in its first two outings, but came out fast against Buffalo State, scoring in the first 4 minutes of play.

The Bengals allowed five shots on goaltender Justine Silva before giving up the first goal.

Buffalo State answered back 3 minutes later on the power play after top line forward Bri Carroll tipped Megan Reukauf’s shot from the point. It was Carroll’s fifth goal of the season and fourth on the power play. That put Carroll in first for most power play goals in the ECAC West.

The rest of the first period was back-and-forth. Chatham kept the puck in the offensive zone for the majority of the first, but the Bengals produced some quality chances despite only registering five shots on goal.

Lead goal scorer Erin Gehen gave the Bengals the lead in the second period after scoring on the penalty kill. She now leads the ECAC in shorthanded goals. Gehen stole the puck at the blue line and finished her shot, beating Chatham goaltender Marissa Janiga glove side.

Gehen scored the final two goals to complete the hat trick. Her second goal gave Buffalo State a 3-1 lead. Gehen took a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle and went bar down.
Her third and final goal was on an empty net.

Buffalo State scored two goals on the penalty kill and killed all 5 of Chatham’s opportunities on the man advantage. Buffalo State scored two goals on the power play on five chances.

Head coach Candice Moxley thought the team was lucky to get the win and felt her team struggled to connect on passes and often failed to keep the puck in the offensive zone.

“I don’t think we played our best hockey tonight, and we were lucky to come out with a win,” Moxley said. “Chatham was a very tough team to play tonight. They out-chanced us and outplayed us. We had a few players who stood up and made the difference in that game, but it was not an example of how we want to play moving forward.”

Saturday’s contest was a much stronger showing for the Bengals, despite the same end result on the scoreboard.

Nikki Kirchberger scored seven minutes into the game off a rebound from Erin Gehen’s shot. The rebound gave Kirchberger a perfect opportunity to put the puck past Petersen’s glove.

Goaltender Justine Silva had another strong performance, finishing with 27 saves. Silva was able to see most of Chatham’s shots getting across the crease quickly. With the victory, Silva is now 7-0 on the year.

The lone goal for the Cougars came in the first period after an odd bounce landed the puck right in front of the net. Jennifer Jones finished the play before Silva could get back in position to make a save.

Maddie Toczek gave the lead back to Buffalo State in the second period, finishing another rebound that bounced right in front of the net.

Buffalo State ran away with the game after that with Kirchberger scoring two more goals to give the Bengals a 4-1 lead.

Erin Gehen had two more points after assisting on two of Kirchberger’s three goals. Gehen felt both she and her team performed well.

“The game is a lot easier when everyone is pulling in the same direction,” Gehen said. “We all have the same goal and that is to win. With that in mind, everyone is putting the team before themselves this year and it is working.”

The Bengals were able to set up multiple opportunities thanks to strong defense creating opportunities.

Captain Vivi Vaattovaara was one of the defenders that had success in the offensive zone. She is now +8 on the season.

Vaattovaara felt the team came out faster and stronger in the second game.

“It’s always easier to play the second game because we know what to expect,” Vaattovaara said. “It was nice to play a faster team so that we had to work harder as well. We did a lot better in our second game, but we can still improve. At the end of the day, we came out with two big wins, which is what counts.”

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