Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Cardinals win inaugural NEWHL championship

The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team has once again captured a conference title, this time earning the inaugural Northeast Women’s Hockey League championship.

The No. 1 Cardinals (23-2-2) defeated the No. 4 seed Oswego Lakers (12-3-2) 6-0 in the final match with pairs of goals from senior right wing Kayla Meneghin and junior left wing Courtney Moriarty. Junior center Mackenzie Millen and freshman right wing Abby Brush each scored their own as well.

PSUC struck early and often, scoring its first three goals in the first 12 minutes of the game. The second and third goals came only 34 seconds apart.

“We’ve focused most of the second semester on starting to come out stronger in the first period,” said Kevin Houle, head coach. “We’ve been able to be successful putting the puck in the net the last 8-10 games here, and it’s the right time to be getting on a roll.”

Moriarty’s pair brought her to 30 goals, joining senior left wing Melissa Sheeran and PSUC women’s hockey ‘05 alumna Elizabeth Gibson as only the third player in Cardinal history to reach that mark in a single season.

“I never really look at the stats that way,” Moriarty said. “I just try to play the game, and the little things come with it.”

The Cards took four penalties to the Lakers’ six and scored on one powerplay opportunity but failed to capitalize on a one minute 32 second-long powerplay in the second period.

Houle acknowledged that PSUC would want to capitalize on a chance like that in the coming NCAA Division III tournament games.

“That was a long 5-on-3 and our first group didn’t do a great job of moving the puck,” Houle said. “I thought our second group did a better job of moving it and getting some chances, but you have to take advantage of those. It will certainly be a point of emphasis this week.”

The Cards outshot the Lakers 54-23 on the game. Senior goalie Brooke Wolejko earned her tenth win and sixth shutout of the year while Oswego goalie and NEWHL Goalie of the Year Mariah Madrigal let in six goals.

For now, the Cards will have to wait until Monday to find out who they’ll be playing in the first round of the tournament. Tomorrow will be a chance to enjoy their conference victory while still keeping their eyes on what’s next.

“This game is definitely an energy-booster going into NCAA playoffs,” Moriarty said. “For now we’ll sit back and get a little breather, but still stay focused on the bigger prize.”

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