The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team returned to the ice this past weekend, and with a lot to prove, they did not disappoint.

As reigning National Champions, the whole ECAC conference was eager to see what the Cards would bring to the table after the loss of last year’s seniors. Their season opener was nothing short of a nail-biter, as they were able to beat Norwich 2-1 with the help of Giovanna Senese’s goal with 16 seconds left. Another 3-0 triumph over the Adrian Bulldogs enabled the Cards to reach an early-undefeated record of 2-0.

Although both the team and coaches are content with the result, they are by no means surprised. What seemed like an eternity of an off-season was filled with long hours both in the gym and on the ice.

“We had a long offseason to make both ourselves and the team better,” junior forward Melissa Ames said. “I played in some summer tournaments with some of the other girls on the team, and I think it really helped build some chemistry.”

Chemistry is crucial to any teams success, and with the loss of seniors from last year, it is important the Cards build this chemistry quick. However, looking forward to this season, both the team and coaching staff feel confident with the experience of their veterans.

“We’ve got a lot of seniors and juniors who have witnessed what it’s like to play in a national championship,” head coach Kevin Houle said. “Some of them have been to three, and that’s going to help us.”

Experience can only carry a team so far, but luckily for PSUC, their freshmen class shows promise. A total of nine newcomers offer a wide variety of skills that will hopefully continue the greatness Plattsburgh women’s hockey has become known for. The veterans are hoping to instill this mindset in the rookies while still trying to make improvements to their game as well. Kayla Meneghin is no exception to this ideal.

“I wasn’t used to playing the full 60 minutes of a hockey game.” Meneghin said. “So I tried to work on that so I could come out strong that first game.”

Consistency is another focus of the team this year, as it will carry them to a successful season. This aspect of the game along with many others will carry the team past many challengers. One of the most prominent teams on the Cards schedule is longtime rival Elmira.

Last year, the two teams faced off a total of five times, three of those meetings being championship games.

Buffalo has also been a team on the rise of PSUC’s radar, as they seem to be a rising force in the conference.

Nonetheless, the Cards cannot control what other teams bring to the table; they can only control what their team will do. They will start with trying to develop their younger players in hopes that they will be able to help the team as soon as possible.

“Some will take longer to develop,” Houle said. “No matter what the case is, we’re going to find the best people to get the job done for us.”

Email Kevin Morley at kevin.morley@cardinalpointsonline.com

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