In order to be an undefeated team this late in the season, a rigorous journey must be taken by both players and coaches. Thus far, the Plattsburgh State Cardinals have managed to keep their perfect season in tact with some help from the underclassmen.
Currently, 13 members of the PSUC roster are underclassmen, and their strength in numbers is tantamount to their strength in play. Thirty-nine out of the 91 points the Cards have scored this season stem from the hand of these younger players, making it evident they are a force on the ice.
“I think we have great contributions since last year,” head coach Kevin Houle said. “They continue to produce in terms of numbers and overall play.”
Houle is not mistaken in that statement as the younger generation of this team has been able to provide substantial supplementation. In cases like freshman Courtney Moriarty, goal-scoring needs have been met with her four goals thus far.
Two sophomore standouts, Melissa Sheeran and Kayla Meneghin, are true testaments to the success that has come from the underclassmen. The duo constantly works in and out of season to make sure they are at the top level that they can be.
“Last year, I didn’t know what to expect,” sophomore Kayla Meneghin said. “We’ve all helped each other to better understand the game as well as improve our own.”
In its practices this year, PSUC has focused on making every member of the team better as the season progresses. The sophomores who had experienced the overwhelming change of freshmen year come to the current rookies with wise advice.
As a result, the younger class has been able to step up in a big way. The constructive criticism that takes place in practice is imperative in the building process. Players are learning what they need to work on in their game from their teammates, and they are putting those suggestions into action.
One of the many positive aspects that stems from communication that takes place in the Cards’ program is the never-ending hunger that it insinuates. No player is satisfied with their game, as they always strive to be better. Meneghin is a prime example of this constant drive to improve.
Despite winning USCHO.com Rookie of the Year, Meneghin is still looking to make strides in the right direction. One of her focuses currently is to improve on coming out stronger in games.
On the ice is where most of the improvements are made; however, the work is not confined to the boards of the rink. Meneghin and her sophomore counterpart, Sheeran, find themselves in a hockey mindset at all times of the day.
Because they are roomates, the two have a lot of time to reflect on things such as the team, skills and overall production.
“Melissa really helps me when I get frustrated with the game,” Meneghin said. “She helps me feel more confident in what I’m doing.”
This weekend, that confidence will be needed as PSUC is facing off against Buffalo State, another undefeated team in the ECAC conference.
With the help of the underclassmen, as well as the older player’s experience, the Cards have an abundance of tools in their arsenal.
“We’ve got a really solid team this year,” Sheeran said. “I’m excited to see us put to the test.”
Email Kevin Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org