Saturday, April 1, 2023

Cards raise championship banner, Houle earns 400th win

The No. 1 SUNY Plattsburgh women’s hockey team raised 2018-19’s championship banner up to Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena’s rafters Wednesday night as the defending national champions hosted No. 8 Norwich University in a nonconference 3-1 win.

Head coach Kevin Houle also earned his 400th career win at Plattsburgh State and was presented with an award by Director of Athletics and Recreation Michael Howard in a postgame ceremony that included a video of past Cardinals congratulating their former head coach.

“It kind of snuck up on me,” Houle said after the game. “I had no idea it was 400. But the banner raising was awesome, and it’s nice to do it at a game like this; it really means something.”

Senior forward Sarah Wolf was excited for the banner but refocused to the season’s goal after it was raised.

“It was very surreal,” Wolf said. “Obviously, it’s great to see the banner raised, but once it raises, it’s over; it’s a new year. That’s where our new focus is, winning again.”

Houle said the matchup with Norwich would be a game his team would use as a measuring stick.

“It’s a game both teams look forward to,” he said.

SUNY Plattsburgh finished the first period with 18 shots and 11 shots on goal against the Cadets but couldn’t score a goal. Norwich attempted 17 shots of their own and also didn’t score.

“I think we were a little nervous at first because it was our first big game of the year,” senior forward Sarah Wolf said. “I think [in the] second period, we really stepped it up. Everyone on the team worked really hard. I think we played as a team really well.”

Junior forward Annie Katonka kicked off the scoring for both teams 8:35 into the second period of the game in what was her second goal and fifth point of the season.

Freshman forward Julia Masotta scored for Norwich 56 seconds later to tie the game. The Cards’ next two and final goals were scored in the following eight minutes.

Wolf and junior forward Kaitlyn Drew-Mead scored the second and third goals for Plattsburgh State.

The win against Norwich tacks on another win for the Cards, who are now 3-0 on the season and have outscored their opponents 16-1.

Earning the win and recording 26 saves was sophomore goaltender Ashley Davis, who has played heavy minutes in the net this season that doesn’t include all-conference goaltender Kassi Abbott, who graduated last semester.

“I think Ashley has been playing unreal,” Wolf said. “I’m super proud of her. We’ve all had a lot of confidence in her, and she just keeps proving everyone that she should be in the net.”

SUNY Plattsburgh started its regular season with two NEWHL games against the Buffalo State Bengals at the Buffalo State Ice Arena last Friday and Saturday. The Cards shut out Buffalo Friday 5-0 and then again 8-0 Saturday.

The two away wins extended Plattsburgh State’s winning streak, which began last season, to 20 games. The streak is the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division III women’s hockey.

Freshman forward Ivy Boric was the first Cardinal to receive conference honors this season after she was awarded Rookie of the Week by the NEWHL for recording two goals and two assists against Buffalo State.

SUNY Plattsburgh resumes its conference schedule when it hosts the 2-0 Oswego State Lakers today at 7 p.m. and again tomorrow at 3 p.m.

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