Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Cards beat Dragons, lose to Cadets

The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey improved its record to 3-1 with two weekend wins against SUNY Cortland before losing a close 4-3 game against Norwich Wednesday.

The Cardinals opened their NEWHL play with two wins against the Red Dragons, defeating them in decisive fashion with a 6-0 win Friday and an 8-1 win Saturday.

“They’re a hungry, young team,” head coach Kevin Houle said about Cortland. “They came out pretty strong against us, but at the end of the day, we took care of business.”

Left wing Melissa Sheeran and right wing Kayla Meneghin, both seniors, led the way for PSUC’s offence. Sheeran had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) across the two games, while Meneghin had nine (five goals, four assists). Three of Meneghin’s goals came from a hat-trick in Saturday’s game.

Sheeran and Meneghin were both glad to be able to be strong presences for their teammates to follow.

“My freshman year, the captain was always great at leading by example,” Sheeran said. “Now I have a lot of great senior girls around me to help me do it.”

“I think I’ve learned a lot from girls who have already graduated,” Meneghin said. “I’m lucky because I have Sheeran to follow as my captain, as well as the other seniors. We all try to lead and be an example for the younger girls.”

Houle was pleased to see the production from two of his stars, but hopes that some others might step up to lighten the load.

“They’re very prolific offensively, and they show up to play hard every game,” Houle said. “Because of that, teams are looking to shut them down, so we have to also focus on spreading the scoring around to other people.”

In Wednesday’s loss, Meneghin had two goals with Sheeran assisting both. Junior center Courtney Moriarty had the other goal. Norwich’s win was the first in the last 14 games against the Cards.
The special teams were once again operating to full effect against Cortland, with the powerplay scoring on 45 percent of the opportunities, while the penalty kill killed off 90 percent of their penalties.

“Being on the team brought me my closest friends,” Saccocio said. “All the experiences I’ve had with coaches have been great. Especially this last season I think there was a new dedication and pride in this program, so I walk away proud of being a part of that.”

Knight made the 2017 SUNYAC All-Tournament team along with junior goalkeeper Nichole Gibson and sophomore defender Sarah Bonner. Knight and Haight also earned First-Team All-SUNYAC Honors, Saccocio earned First-Team honors and SUNYAC offensive player of the year honors, Gibson earned Second-Team honors, and Gagen earned Third-Team honors.

Now the focus shifts to next year. For those who are returning, Saccocio had a message.

“I hope that the returning players take this defeat in stride,” Saccocio said. “It shows that we are capable of making it to the finals, but that it won’t come easy. I hope that there’s a continuation of the dedication that we saw grow this season.”

Armellino is confident that her team will take that sentiment to heart and use this experience to help them next year.

“For all of our team, it was the first time we had been to a championship game,” Armellino said. “Going forward, the returning players will know the drive that it takes to get there and how to perform when they get there, so I think that this experience will help us in the long run.”

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