The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team finds itself in rather unfamiliar territory after last weekend’s action.
The Cardinals beat Adrian College 1-0 in a rematch of last season’s national championship Saturday before falling to Elmira 4-2 Sunday. This marks the first time since 2011 that PSUC has lost two games before winter break. The Cards now sit on a 6-2-0 record.
“I was happy that we were able to hold on to a tight, close game against Adrian, but then we just couldn’t get the puck to fall for us against Elmira,” Houle said. “You don’t want to be satisfied with that, but you can take a lot of positives out of our play last weekend.”
PSUC took down the Bulldogs in their rematch in 1-0 game that saw junior left winger Courtney Moriarty as the only scorer. Junior goalie Kassi Abbott stopped all 28 Adrian shots en route to her third shutout of the season.
“I figured it would be tight in terms of the score,” head coach Kevin Houle said. “You don’t go in to a game thinking that it’s going to end 1-0. You just want to be prepared to play your best game. We just happen to be a little snake-bitten right now when it comes to putting pucks away.”
Abbott earned her second NEWHL Goalie of the Week honors for her play.
“I’m pretty happy with my performance so far,” Abbott said.
Against Elmira, the Cards struggled to find the back of the net despite having a wide advantage on the shot counter. PSUC outshot the Soaring Eagles 64-24, outshooting Elmira 22-5 in the third period alone.
“We played against one of the best goalies we’ll play all year,” Moriarty said. “It was very frustrating, especially in the last couple minutes, to try to make plays to get the puck in the net, but nothing would go.”
Moriarty picked up one of the Cards’ two goals in the loss, her conference high 10th on the season. Her efforts earned her Northeast Women’s Hockey League (NEWHL) Player of the Week honors for the second week in a row.
“It’s just about coming out every night and playing your game,” Moriarty said. “I’ve found a new confidence, and I’ve just been playing with that.”
Junior center Mackenzie Millen picked up the other goal for PSUC against Elmira. The line of Moriarty, Millen and sophomore right winger Meghan Kraus has been huge for the Cards as of late, combining for eight goals and four assists in their last four games.
Houle has been happy to see the line break out, especially after the scoresheet was dominated mostly by seniors Melissa Sheeran and Kayla Meneghin early on in the season.
“All three of them have been playing extremely well and contributing,” Houle said. “Courtney’s (Moriarty) been solid from day one, and now she’s sitting at 10 goals. Now we’re really starting to see how good Mackenzie (Millen) is, and Kraus is really growing into her game.”
Now PSUC will return to NEWHL conference play and face the North Country rival Potsdam Bears in a back-to-back, home-and-away series this weekend, playing in Plattsburgh Friday at 7 p.m. and in Potsdam Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Bears come into this weekend riding a 1-2-1 conference record, while the Cards have a 4-0 conference record.
Houle hopes to see his team use this chance to gain some confidence.
“Ideally, I’d like to see two or three goals in the first period, and gain some confidence when it comes to scoring,” Houle said. “If not, we need to be prepared to grind it out and keep our confidence up.”
With PSUC being moved down to the No. 3 rank in the nation in both national polls, Moriarty and her teammates will have a little extra motivation to come out strong against the Bears.
“It gives us that extra fire to come out this weekend and put the past behind us.”
Email Ben Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org