Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Cards best Dragons, rise to top SUNYAC

Mae Olshansky, previously benched, celebrates her power play goal against Cortland at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Dec. 1.

 

By Michael Purtell

No. 4 Plattsburgh State women’s ice hockey (8-0-1, 6-0-0) spent last weekend reliving its victories from last year’s NEWHL tournament as it defeated Championship opponent Cortland (7-3-1, 4-2-1) 2-0 Friday, Dec. 1 at home and semifinals opponent Canton (9-4-0, 3-4-0) 4-2 Saturday, Dec. 2 

The Cortland Red Dragons were the sole team to defeat the Cardinals in a conference game during the NEWHL’s existence and are the only other SUNYAC team to be reliably ranked amongst the United States College Hockey Organization’s top-15 team poll.

“In the last five years they’ve really become a great team, certainly our biggest rivals in the conference,” Head Coach Kevin Houle said. “They are a ranked team now so they’ve done a great job of building the program there.”

The Red Dragons are currently ranked No. 13 by United States College Hockey Online’s poll.

 

CORTLAND

The matchup against Cortland resulted in the fewest total goals scored in a Cardinals’ game this season. The only time the Red Dragons played a lower scoring match was when they faced Oswego and both teams left scoreless.

Cardinal forward Ciara Wall lit the lamp first in just nine minutes of play. It marked her second goal of the season. Defenseman Maeghan Forsyth and forward Julia Masotta recorded assists on the play.

By Collin Bolebruch

Senior forward Ciara Wall sends a pass past a Cortland defender to start the offense at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Dec. 1.

Cortland was hungry to reply, but never got an opportunity as Plattsburgh dominated the match with constant offensive pressure and defensive effort. The Cards held the Red Dragons to just 20 shots, its second lowest mark this season. Plattsburgh shot 31 times, its fourth lowest mark on the season.

Forward Mae Olshansky scored the final goal of the game on a power play in the final seconds of the second period. It was her second goal of the season and she was assisted by Masotta and Wall. 

 Olshansky hadn’t played in the Cardinals’ previous game against the Middlebury Panthers for the Panther/Cardinal Classic. She was happy to have played a role.

“It was huge,” Olshansky said. “We know they are gonna bring us their best game, so for us to come out there and shut them out is great for us.”

 

CANTON

The game was followed by another home stand against the Canton Kangaroos. The match was scrappy and saw seven penalties, which contributed to the high scoring.

Masotta scored the first two goals in the game on Saturday. The first came at 14 minutes into the first period when defenseman Adriana Urban dished a breakaway pass to earn Masotta a breakaway one-on-one with the goalie, which she slid straight into the net. Defenseman Kendall Wasik also earned an assist on the play. 

Masotta’s second goal came with six minutes to go in the second period. Canton received two tripping penalties in rapid succession, facing a two-skater disadvantage. Plattsburgh played four forwards on the undermanned Kangaroos’ side of the ice, and Masotta scored. Wasik and Cardinal forward Ivy Boric both assisted the play.

The game marked Masotta’s first two-goal game of the season.

The Roos had an answer. Cardinal forward Sydnee Francis was penalized for cross checking and 1 1/2 minutes into her penalty three minutes after the goal. Wall joined her in the box for boarding shortly after. The Roos had the numbers advantage now, and forward Desiree Snook cut down the Cardinal lead to 2-1.

Forward Zsofia Pazmandi scored her eighth goal of the season and the eventual game-winner 7 1/2 minutes into the third period. She approached the goal from the left side and shot it over the Canton goalie’s shoulder into the three-hole. Urban and forward Bridget Orr recorded assists.

Boric scored the final goal for the Cards with seven minutes left in the game. Wasik and Pazmandi assisted the shot to bring the game to its final score.

Goalkeeper Chloe Lewis was on the ice for all 60 minutes of this contest, her second start on the season. She recorded 26 saves.

The first half of the season will conclude with the Norwich East/West Hockey Classic tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 9, in Norwich, Vermont. The Cards will battle the Norwich Cadets for a chance at the event’s championship Sunday, Dec. 10. The meeting will be the second of the season. The last resulted in a 2-2 tie.

Following the tournament is a month-long break, where the Cardinals will practice for its back-to-back return against the Oswego Lakers Jan. 5 and 6, 2024. The Cardinals will then see a rematch against the Middlebury Panthers Jan. 9. The Cardinals won the last meeting, the Panther/Cardinal Classic Championship, 3-1 Nov. 26.

“I think it helps that we’re coming back with three very good teams that we play. We got Oswego twice and then Middlebury, so I think that’s enough motivation itself,” Masotta said.

 

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