Women’s hockey bounces back with weekend sweep

Louie DiBiase, Reporter

Resiliency might be the best descriptor for Buffalo State’s women’s hockey team.

After being swept by the second-place Elmira Eagles the previous weekend, the Bengals came back with a clean sweep of their own, taking down Cortland 2-1 on Friday and 4-0 on Saturday.

Friday’s matchup presented a close contest between the Bengals and Red Dragons.

Defense was the name of the game early on in the first period until two goals were scored in under a minute by both teams midway through the first.

Cortland struck first after Sydney Carlucci was able to sneak the puck by Buffalo State goaltender Justine Silva.

The Bengals did not trail for long though, as leading goal scorer Erin Gehen tied the game on the very next faceoff.

Only six seconds separated the two goals as Gehen was able to outrace both Red Dragon defenders to bury the puck. The goal was Gehen’s 15th of the season.

Despite a flurry of offensive chances from both sides of the ice, both teams were able to stay in the contest thanks to strong goaltending from Silva and Deanna Meunier (Cortland).

Meunier finished the night with 35 saves for Cortland, but it wasn’t enough as Missy Mallon scored the game-winner late in the second period to put the Bengals up 2-1.

Silva saved 25 of Cortland’s 26 shots, including an incredible diving save that kept Buffalo State in the lead with four minutes to go.

It’s saves like those that allow Buffalo State to play the aggressive style they are accustomed to.

Buffalo State was able to take command of the game in the second period, outshooting the Red Dragons 20-10.

Saturday’s matchup presented the same outcome, with Buffalo State getting the win. However, Cortland was unable to stay in the game for long, unlike Friday’s closely contested matchup.

Gehen again came up big for Buffalo State, finishing with 2 goals and an assist. “We played well as a team this weekend, and most importantly, we didn’t underestimate our opponent,” Gehen said. “We knew it was a big weekend for us, so we dialed in and stayed focused in practice.”

Justine Silva stopped all 19 saves she faced before being relieved by Sarah Quigley, who stopped the final 4 shots.

The two goalies shared the shutout on the team’s senior night.

“We really focused on playing our game and didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves,” Vaattovaara said. “It being senior weekend gave us the extra push that we needed.”

“The effort we demonstrated this weekend was phenomenal,” Silva said. “We played for our teammates, our school, and most importantly our seniors. We showed hard work, sacrifice, and tenacity in order to help the team become successful.”

That hard work and tenacity Silva talked about was put on full display when Bengals winger Bri Carroll sacrificed her body and cut open her leg blocking a shot.

The Red Dragons went 0 for 9 on the power play and were unable to set up quality scoring chances with face-off wins as they won just 23 of the 64 shots taken.

Saturday night’s game wasn’t only significant because of senior night; senior forward Nikki Kirchberger played in her 100th game as a member of Buffalo State, which is tied for most games in the program’s history.

The Bengals (17-6) will hope to end the regular season on a high note as they gear up to take on Utica (16-6-1) this weekend before the playoffs start.

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