Sunday, June 13, 2021

SUNYAC champs’ season falls short

The Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team saw its magical run through the back-half of the season come to an end in the first round of the NCAA Division III national tournament.

The Cardinals lost their first-round match-up to Trinity College by a score of 4-1.

This came after PSUC had upset its rival, the No. 2 nationally ranked Oswego State Lakers, for the program’s 23rd SUNYAC title. That 3-2 win was led by a trio of freshmen, with forwards Antoine Desnoyers, Joe Drabin, and Schuyler Seyfert all scoring, while senior goalie Brady Rouleau had 31 saves in the close win.

Drabin was proud of his team’s SUNYAC win after the mid-season turnaround.

“It was an awesome feeling to win SUNYACs,” Drabin said. “Especially after the first half of our season not going the way we wanted to, we kind of flipped the switch.”

Sophomore forward Cam Owens was glad for the win as well, and remarked on the amazing atmosphere of playing against Oswego in their own arena.

“Playing against them, no matter where we play it’s going to be a great game,” Owens said. “It was pretty sick playing against them in their barn because they have a lot of great fans, and they get pretty rowdy.”

The game had a dramatic finish, with the Lakers cutting the Cards’ lead to one goal with 32 seconds left in the game, but that would be it, as PSUC would hold on to win.

Moving on to the NCAA Division III tournament, the Cards were slated to face the Trinity College Bantams, at the Bantams’ host site in Connecticut.

Heading into the game, senior forward Kyle Hall felt that the team was confident.

“Our confidence level was really high,” Hall said. “A lot of guys hadn’t been there before, so everyone was really excited and had a lot of energy going into the game.”

Then PSUC’s time ended.

The game against Trinity did not get off to the best of starts, with the Cards giving up a powerplay goal only 1:16 into the game, before letting in another only 11 minutes later. PSUC showed some signs of life early in the second, with Drabin scoring off of an assist from Owens, but that would be it. The Bantams would go on to score another powerplay goal in the second period, before finishing off the game with an empty-netter in the third.

The Cards’ lack of success on their powerplay chances likely contributed in part to the loss, with the Bantams converting on 2 out of 3 of their chances, while PSUC went 0 for 4.

Owens lamented about the team’s bad luck, but took solace in the fact that they are a young team with things to learn.

“It came down it a couple bounces here, a couple bounces there,” Owens said. “The outcome kind of stunk, but we thought we gave it a pretty good effort, especially being a really young team.”

The Cards finish their season with a 17-10-1 record, after coming out of the first semester with a 5-5 record. For Drabin, that’s something that the whole team is taking pride in.

“For the season as a whole, I think we’re really proud of ourselves for turning it around,” Drabin said. “We found a really good core group of guys who bought in, and did whatever it took to win.”

PSUC will have many returning faces next season, with only three seniors leaving. Rouleau and Hall will both be gone, along with senior defenseman Patrick Hermans. Leaders on the team leaving is never an easy hole to fill, but Hall is confident in the team he’s leaving behind.

“They have an unbelievable group coming back, with only a few of us leaving,” Hall said. “They have some really good leadership and a lot of talent, so I think they’re going to do well going forward.”

Email Ben Watson at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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