Five hundred fifty-nine minutes and forty-two seconds: that’s how you measure a shutout streak.
The No-2 ranked Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team saw its shutout streak of Oswego end Jan. 25 at 13:12 of the third period. The Lakers previous goal came at 13:30 of the second period on Jan. 30, 2011. Lending a hand in the eight shutouts between Laker goals has been senior defenseman Alyssa Parke.
During games, Parke said the team doesn’t think about the possibility of a shutout, as the focus is on hard work.
“We just try and do our job the whole time,” Parke said, “and it just happens that we keep the puck out of the net.”
In addition to overall team effort, Parke cites “unbelievable goaltending” for the 1,456 days Oswego went without a goal, a stretch that began before she joined the team.
Part of the “unbelievable goaltending” is found in sophomore Camille Leonard, with previous blankings of the Lakers by former goalie Sydney Aveson. Leonard said she gets more hyped up to play certain teams, and she couldn’t help but get excited to play Oswego.
“I got ready just like any other game,” she said, “but with it in the back of my mind that it was Oswego we were playing.”
Leonard avoids thinking of a shutout until the inevitable moment she sees the time winding down on the scoreboard, and excitement creeps in.
“I try to just not think about it and worry about winning first,” Leonard said.
While Parke and Leonard avoid the thought of a shutout, junior forward Giovanna Senese takes it one step further. Senese doesn’t speak a word of the possibility until it happens. Just like when a runner or pitcher is having a good day, Senese won’t acknowledge it until it’s over.
“It’s like in any sport,” Senese said. “You don’t say anything about it, you just keep playing as hard as you can.”
PSUC prepares for Oswego as they do for any team, by practicing the other team’s power play. Senese doesn’t find the school rival more special than others the Cards face. Only one thing sets the Lakers apart from the rest for Senese.
“They literally stand in front of their own net trying to protect it,” Senese said. “So, it’s a little hard to get to the net sometimes.”
Parke notices a difference in Oswego’s play as well, except it’s not about posting up in front of the net.
“They’re a bit louder than most teams,” Parke said. “They’re really obnoxious.”
Whether it’s the defensive strategy or noise level trying to distract them, the Cards repeatedly found ways to overpower the Lakers. By treating the team like any other, PSUC preserved a string of shutouts.
Senese focuses on total team effort as the reason for success against Oswego and other opponents.
“We’ve been a great defensive team from our coach down,” Senese said. “We don’t like to be scored on.”
Email Jess Huber at email@example.com.