By Collin Bolebruch
Sometimes a game is left up to chance, and sometimes you just get dominated.
Wednesday, the Plattsburgh Cardinals (2-5) lost to the home team Clarkson Golden Knights (8-1) by a score of 5-19. The loss is the Cardinals’ last game before in-conference play begins, also known as the second season.
For SUNY Plattsburgh, the game was highlighted by a career-high 23 saves by senior goalie Christian Bassi, who was in the goal for the entirety of the matchup. Other leaders included three points by midfielder Stephen Kane, one assist each from midfielders Ely Bruhns and Zach Gill and two caused turnovers each from defender Justin Rocovich and long-stick midfielder Justin Pigliavento.
“That was definitely nice, having a really good game,”Bassi said. “I was definitely seeing the ball well, but there’s a lot of stuff defensively we need to fix.”
For Clarkson, midfielder Bryan Penney and attacker Thomas Fiebich led in points with four each, Fiebech had the most assists with four and defender Connor Borchardt led in caused turnovers with two. Clarkson used multiple goalies, but Jacob Mattice had five saves, the most of the group.
When looking at the team statistics, it’s clear why the Golden Knights won. They led by a significant margin in multiple categories. Plattsburgh rarely even got the opportunity to score, having 21 shots to Clarkson’s 67. They also fell behind in faceoffs with four wins to the Golden Knights’ 23, turnovers with 21 to their 15 and ground balls with 22 to their 51.
“It’s just possessions, we weren’t getting possessions. Clarkson had a dominant faceoff guy [Matthew Hanson] and he was really able to really just dominate the game, and quite honestly, they just out-worked us,” Head Coach Andrew Hauk said.
He also credited the win to Clarkson “stringing goals together” allowing them to “get confidence.” Plattsburgh’s inability to get stops also contributed to the loss. “Defensively we’re not too bad, we’re doing good,”Bassi said. “It’s just that we’re kind of getting beat and then when we get deep we’re not communicating well enough to fix what just happened. We just need to communicate better and do kind of like the little things to get over that hump.”
Clarkson’s landslide of scoring started early, and it did not relent. At 10:15 in the first quarter, Kane tied the game 1-1, but the next time Plattsburgh saw a goal it was already down 1-9. The half ended 2-12. Plattsburgh scored once in the third quarter, but its last two goals came in the last half of the fourth quarter.
After recovering from this game, Plattsburgh will face their first SUNYAC opponent of the year in the Cortland Red Dragons (2-5). Despite being conference opponents, the two teams have not faced off since 2019, when Cortland won 6-15.
Plattsburgh is looking forward to this “second season” with optimism, hoping to gain an advantage in the standings with a positive conference record.
“We’re just focused on the game-to-game,” Hauk said. “We take care of business in conference play. It’s that the guys still believe that if they just change what we’re doing and we’re able to focus on us and work to what our goals are, then the goals are still attainable.”