Going on the road, playing in an opponent’s arena and securing a win are never easy tasks. The Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team, however, found a way to do just that during their visits to Oswego and Cortland last weekend.
The Cardinals (5-0-0, 4-0-0 SUNYAC) captured victories in both matchups, beating Oswego 5-4 in overtime and Cortland 5-1.
While PSUC defeated Oswego, the Cards had to battle the entire night and didn’t begin the game ideally.
The Lakers scored two times in the first 70 seconds and seized momentum early, but PSUC clawed back into the game after sophomore defenseman Chris Taff scored late in the first period and senior forward Kevin Emmerling blasted a shot into the net early in the second period.
After Emmerling’s goal, the Cards looked ready to take the lead, but late in the period, Oswego scored twice, handing PSUC its second two-goal deficit of the game.
As the third period began, PSUC displayed their relentlessness as senior forward Connor Gorman cut the deficit in half 26 seconds into the period before senior forward Dillan Fox netted the equalizer six minutes later, which helped the Cards force overtime.
Nearly two minutes into overtime, PSUC developed an odd-man rush that allowed freshman forward Pat Egan to bury the game-winner for the Cards. Reflecting on his goal, Egan acknowledged how exciting it was to score and said the entire game was a battle.
“It felt great, and I was at a loss for words,” Egan said. “Going down early and being able to come back just showed a lot of good character our team has, and to score that goal and get the win was huge.”
PSUC head coach Bob Emery said the Cards win against Oswego is something they should be proud of and noted the team’s mindset and attitude helped fuel the victory.
“To come from two goals down and win the game in overtime shows a lot about the guys and their character and resiliency,” Emery said. “It had a lot to do with the guys believing in themselves, believing in the team and believing in each other.”
Following the drama-filled win against Oswego, PSUC continued their winning ways against Cortland.
The Cards grabbed an early first period lead after senior forward Michael Radisa put PSUC on the board. The Red Dragons evened the score the following period, but once the final 20 minutes began, PSUC recaptured the lead as defensemen Rich Botting and Ayrton Valente and forwards Connor Gorman and Kyle Hall all tallied a goal to close out Cortland.
Emery said he liked the emotion the Cards came out with against Cortland and believes their conditioning helped them excel late in the game.
“We had good leadership coming out of the locker room to start the game, and the guys had a lot of jump and jam in their skates,” Emery said. “I think our conditioning played a role in the third period. It’s hard for opponents to play defense for 60 minutes.”
Senior forward Connor Gorman said the Cards’ conditioning suits their playing style well and helps them play a complete game and wear opponents down.
“We condition every single day at the end of practice,” Gorman said. “We are an extremely well conditioned team with strong legs and strong cardio, so I think that really helps us play strong for 60 minutes.”
PSUC will return to action Saturday at 7 p.m. when they welcome undefeated SUNY Potsdam to the Stafford Ice Arena, and the Cards will be looking to utilize the momentum their last two wins generated.
“It’s always huge when you come away from a road trip with four points,” senior forward Dillan Fox said. “I think it’s huge momentum, and if we come out with that same intensity and emotion we try to come out with every game, we will be good.”
Emery noted with Potsdam leading the SUNYAC and PSUC playing at home, all the motivation for Saturday couldn’t be better.
“Potsdam is first in our league,” Emery said, “And the guys love playing in front of the greatest fans in Division Three hockey, so with all that, I don’t think it will be hard to get us ready to play.”
Email Joey LaFranca at email@example.com