The Plattsburgh State women’s ice hockey team kicked off its season with a bang by taking down former ECAC West opponent Utica.
The No. 1 in the nation Cardinals routed the Pioneers 5-0 last Sunday after raising last year’s national championship banner to the rafters.
It was the sixth banner raising that head coach Kevin Houle got to witness as the women’s head coach.
“It’s the end of the celebration,” Houle said. “You enjoy the spring and go to all the events in the team’s honor, but then it’s out of sight, out of mind until the banner raising.
It’s a great way to honor last year’s team but also to kick off this season and put last year to rest.”
PSUC’s offense provided that kick against Utica, scoring five goals, with two coming in the first period. The Cards outshot the Pioneers 45-26 on the game.
“Certainly, 5-0 against Utica is a good win,” Houle said. “In any game you play, there will be things to work on, but we definitely had a lot of positives to take out of this game.”
Senior forward Melissa Sheeran and junior forward Courtney Moriarty each had a pair of goals. After scoring four goals last season, sophomore forward Sarah Wolf got started early this year and scored her first of the season as well.
“I’m just trying to work as hard as I can,” Wolf said. “I think we all worked really hard, and that showed in the 5-0 win.”
The Cards’ special teams played a big part in the win. PSUC went 2-for-6 on the power-play, while going 100 percent on the penalty kill, including some 5-on-3 time.
“We lost a few power play people and penalty killers after last season, so it’s definitely still a work in progress,” Houle said. “All in all, though, I think we did a good job. Around 33 percent on the power-play, 100 percent on the penalty kill, we’ll take that any day of the week.”
In net for the Cards was junior Kassi Abbott, who turned away all 26 Utica shots to earn her first shutout of the season.
“She played very confident,” Houle said. “For her, it’s probably the biggest start she’s had in her time here. She had to make some big saves. It’s not like she just sat there and only had 12 shots on her.”
For her effort, Abbott was awarded the inaugural NEWHL Goalie of the Week honors. She was happy with the honor but remarked that it wasn’t all because of her.
“Without them in front of me, it would have been a different game,” Abbott said. “It was pretty special because I’ve never been goalie of the week before, and it was cool to be the first in the new league.”
Next up, PSUC will go on the road to SUNY Cortland for a back-to-back weekend series on Friday and Saturday to kick off conference play. The Red Dragons are coming off of a win and a tie against another former ECAC West opponent, Neumann.
“Cortland is coming off a win and a tie, so they’ll be confident,” Houle said. “It’ll be a challenge. League games are more important than last week’s game, so we can’t take anybody lightly.”
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