For the third consecutive year, the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team was able to defend its home ice and take home the title at the annual Cardinal-Panther Classic Championship.
Four out of the top five nationally ranked Division III women’s teams took part in the annual tournament, but it would be the Cardinals who would come out on top.
PSUC’s first opponent was Gustavus Adolphus (5-1-1), who proved to be a tough non-conference test for the top-ranked Cards in their opening round of tournament play.
Leading 4-1 with seven minutes left of play, PSUC looked to be the clear favorites to top the Golden Gusties. Senior defender Alyssa Parke said that the team definitely outplayed Gustavus Adolphus, but let up in the third period.
“We came out a little slow toward the end of third, and I think we maybe thought it was over a bit too early,” Parke said. “We let up a bit and they took advantage of our mistakes.”
The Golden Gusties proved why they are a top-ranked competitor by scoring a late goal with just under seven minutes remaining and found themselves trailing by only two goals.
With just under three minutes remaining the scoring continued. Two late goals with 11 seconds remaining in regulation evened up the score, and the Cards found themselves in a rut. Five minutes of scoreless overtime quickly pasted, and the teams prepped for a shootout.
After four rounds of shootouts, Kayla Meneghin and Jordan Lipson found the back of the twine and secured a 2-1 win for PSUC.
Junior forward Bridget Balisy called this a huge win for the team and recognized the importance of a win against a top-ranked team in the country.
“I think it was an important win for our team early in the season,” Balisy said. “It felt good to come back and actually get the win.”
With that win, the Cards met up with familiar conference foe Elmira in the tournament finals. This was a huge test for PSUC considering they have not faced this season.
The ECAC West rivals were evened up at 1-1 after two periods of play. Scoring would continue just two minutes into the third period when Shannon Stewart connected for her eighth goal of the season, which would be followed by goals from Melissa Sheeran and Mia Favretto, crowning PSUC as tournament champions.
Parke said beating a conference rival was a huge win this early in the season and the team performed exactly how it needed to.
“It’s obviously a good feeling this early in the season to beat two teams that are top in the country,” Parke said. “As a team, it felt good and we built some character.”
Sheeran, Favretto and goalie Camille Leonard were all named to the All-Tournament team, and Stewart was named the Most Valuable Player.
PSUC will make the trek for a pair of road games against second-place Buffalo State (5-3-2 ECAC, 5-1-0). The Cards will hope to keep their undefeated season alive and continue to display their high-powered offensive abilities with their conference-leading 49 goals scored. The Bengals have only 24 goals thus far, but Balisy said they are not a team to take lightly regardless.
“It’s going to be a good game, and league games are always important for our record,” Balisy said. “It will be great to finish off the semester with two road wins.”
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