The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team placed third in the 2018 Panther/Cardinal Classic Sunday in Middlebury, Vermont.
The annual tournament features some of the best teams in the nation, including No. 1 Elmira College, No. 4 Middlebury College and No. 5 Adrian College.
The No. 2 Cardinals (6-1-0) played in the first round of the tournament against Adrian (9-1-0) Saturday.
Adrian got off to an early lead, scoring seven minutes into the first period. It was the first goal Kassi Abbott let past her in 307 minutes of play.
The rest of the game was a defensive battle and PSUC lost the game 1-0. This was the Cards first shutout loss since 2014.
PSUC looked to bounce back Sunday in the consolation game against the best team in the nation, Elmira (5-1-1), who had lost to Middlebury in a shootout Saturday after tying the Panthers 1-1. The Cards started the game off strong, putting pressure on Elmira in the first ten minutes of the game.
The first goal came on a five-on-three powerplay from sophomore defenseman Erin McArdle, who jammed it home to push PSUC ahead.
Senior captain Courtney Moriarty put more pressure on the Soaring Eagles, scoring with 45 seconds left in the first period off of Annie Katonka’s rebound on the breakaway.
“I saw her cutting through the middle of the ice, she had two players on her I thought there was going to be a call coming from it,” Moriarty said. “I kept following it up, and luckily the goalie poked it right to me.”
Sophomore forward Abby Brush continued the Cards’ domination with a greasy backhand goal on the Elmira goaltender’s shortside.
“I was coming off a shift and I just saw a perfect opportunity to crash the net,” Brush said.
PSUC started the third period with another McArdle goal, also scored on the powerplay.
McArdle was named to the All-Tournament Team for her two-goal effort.
Elmira scored with a minute and a half left in the game, but it was too little to late and the Cards pulled away with the 4-1 win and a third-place finish in the tournament.
PSUC was sent to the penalty box five times during the game and the penalty killers came up big, allowing only three shots on goal.
“We’ve done a great job on the penalty kill all year,” head coach Kevin Houle said. “We’re staying in our lanes and keeping the puck out of our zone. We did a good job of staying on the other team and not giving them much room to breathe.”
Houle is happy about the fact that his team bounced back after Saturday’s loss to Adrian.
“We came off a tough loss last night,” Houle said. “We played well, but not our best. Today, we played as well as we’ve played all year.”
The Cards will have a few days to rest before traveling to play two games at SUNY Oswego (5-0-1). The Lakers sit second place in the NEWHL standings, right behind PSUC, and are off to an impressive start this season, considering they finished 12-13-2 last season.
PSUC looks to stop Oswego’s nearly perfect start with its excellent goaltending, discipline, ability to get pucks deep and ability to win battles.