The Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team has experienced plenty of success early on this season, and that success continued as the team battled in the PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut over the weekend.
The No. 1 Cardinals (8-0-0, 5-0-0 SUNYAC) picked up two wins, defeating Middlebury College 5-4 Friday and Norwich University 6-5 in overtime Saturday to take home the PrimeLink title.
PSUC senior forward Dillan Fox was the hero of the weekend as he buried the overtime winner for the Cards, which allowed theteam to tally its eighth-straight win and remain undefeated.
Fox said it was great to score the game-winning goal.
He also noted playing Middlebury and Norwich was a good test for the team and defeating both opponents was a nice accomplishment.
“Middlebury and Norwich are always really tough matchups for us,” Fox said. “It was a huge weekend for us at the PrimeLink, and coming out with a tournament trophy is real nice.”
While the Cards were able to secure two non-conference wins, neither came easy, and they had to battle back in both games. PSUC faced two separate one goal deficits against Middlebury and a 2-0 deficit against Norwich.
Fighting back to win games is nothing new for PSUC. The Cards have done this in five matchups already this season, and Fox said it’s due to a simple mindset the team has.
“I think we just do a good job at staying positive,” Fox said. “We got a lot of older guys on the team and a lot of guys who have been in those situations before, so I think that helps, but the biggest part is just staying positive.”
The Cards will return to the ice this weekend as they travel to face Brockport Friday and Geneseo Saturday, looking to secure two more SUNYAC wins.
PSUC head coach Bob Emery said his team’s undefeated start to the season is a great achievement but knows opponents will want to hand the Cards their first loss of the season, and he is eager to see how his team reacts.
“I’m looking forward to how we respond because it’s lonely at the top,” Emery said. “We are going to get everyone’s best game. They are going to be bigger, faster and stronger than they normally are when they play us, and I hope we know that.”
Emery stressed the games this weekend against Brockport and Geneseo are going to be about hard work and the Cards emotion level.
“We just have to know how important hard work is,” Emery said. “Hard work will beat talent, and talent doesn’t work hard.”
Emery feels PSUC has developed a good hard-working culture that can serve as a foundation for the team to grow as a whole and develop quality chemistry.
Senior defenseman Anthony Calabrese believes the Cards’ growing chemistry is helping the team.
“Our team is very tight,” Calabrese said. “We are very close, and we have a good group of guys. I think our leadership and how close our team is this year has made a difference.”
This bond is something that’s felt from the seniors all the way to the freshmen.
“We are such a close-knit team this year,” freshman forward Cole Stallard said. “Everyone is really close, everyone cares for each other, everyone sacrifices for each other and everyone buys in.”
Along with their chemistry, PSUC maintains an urgency to consistently improve every day, knowing that’s the key to achieving their goals this season.
“When we come into practice each week, we realize what is at stake,” Stallard said. “We know one game or one point can keep us out of a tournament down the road, so we just work harder each week.”
After their latest two wins, the Cards will look to apply this mindset to their upcoming games.
“Winning the PrimeLink is definitely a momentum builder,” senior forward Connor Gorman said. “During the season, you never want to get too high or too low, but I think this is a high for us. We are excited about the wins, but I think all of us are focused on this upcoming weekend against Brockport and Geneseo and finishing out the first semester with two more wins.”
Email Joey LaFranca at firstname.lastname@example.org