Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Women’s hockey returns

Drew Wemple

It’s been a long time coming, but the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team is officially back in action this Friday at 7 p.m. They will be on the road playing an exhibition game versus Saint Michael’s College. It will be the first of two exhibition games versus the Purple Knights, the second will be Saturday at 3 p.m., back at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. 

After almost a year and a half away from the ice, the Lady Cardinal’s hockey team is ecstatic to get back in the swing of things. Having their 2020-2021 season canceled due to the lasting COVID-19 pandemic, this will be their first game since March of 2020.

“It was definitely heartbreaking,” graduate student and defenseman Erin Mcardle said.  “It was just frustrating, but there’s nothing that we can do about it. So we’re just looking forward to this year.”

 Their last match dates all the way back to March 7, 2020, a game versus Oswego which they won 6-1. With that win, the team moved to an astounding 26-1 record and was headed off to the NCAA Division III tournament to meet with Norwich University in the first round. However, due to the sudden rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing worldwide shutdown, the tournament was canceled. 

“We were a close group that had worked hard and played hard all year. So to see the season end the way it did was very upsetting,” said Mcardle. “I think we could’ve been competing for a national championship.”

However, the team now looks to this season and will attempt to maintain their dominance on the ice. The Lady Cardinals, having won the Northeast Women’s Hockey League conference every season since 2017-2018, is bringing a new team to the ice this season. The returning 14 seniors and juniors are now mixed in with 11 first year and sophomore students, who will get their first collegiate action this season. 

“There’s a lot of talent on this team. I think a lot of the incoming freshmen are really, really talented and are coming in with a lot of confidence,” Mcardle said. “I think that they’re going to add a lot to the team.” The mix of veteran presence with promising newcomers should be a big boost and help to the team’s chemistry, as well as their overall success. For many of those returning players, like Mcardle and graduate student Annie Katonka, this will be their last season of Cardinal hockey.

“We’ve waited so long for this and I had to come back and do another year of college, so I think this season means a lot more to everyone personally,” Katonka said. “ We’ve been working so hard for so long for nothing and now to have something is nice.”

This season will certainly hold a range of emotions for the players, with some having it be their last ride and others who are just getting started. One of which is first year forward Bridget Orr, who will make her Plattsburgh debut this weekend. 

“We’ve just been working really hard on and off the ice,” Orr said. “We come each day and work hard. We want to win.”

That mentality is prevalent across the team, after being away for so long. But at long last Plattsburgh women’s hockey is back, and they are ready to roll, looking to continue their streak as the premier Northeast women’s hockey program.

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