Monday, October 26, 2020

Cards nab home-ice advantage

The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team rounded off its dominant regular season with a win and a tie in two games against Buffalo State on Friday and Saturday.
PSUC finished its season with a 23-1-1 overall record, and a 16-1-1 record in ECAC Women’s West conference play.

For head coach Kevin Houle, it was a season that the team can be very happy with.
“It was a great season, especially if you look at the overall picture and some of the ranked teams we beat,” Houle said.
“To go 8-0 against Norwich, Middlebury, Adrian and Elmira is a pretty tough task, and we were able to do it.”
The Cards beat the Bengals 3-0 last Friday before tying
them 3-3 Saturday. Both games saw PSUC dominate in the shot column, outshooting Buffalo 40-25 Friday and then 42-24 on Saturday.

Houle was satisfied on the whole with last weekend, but said there were improvements to be made.
“Obviously, when you outshoot someone almost two-to-one, you expect to get the win, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday,” Houle said. “They did a good job defensively against us though.”

In Friday’s game, it was a story of familiar heroes, with junior forward Melissa Sheeran scoring again, along with sophomore forward Courtney Moriarty and senior forward Melissa Ames. Junior defenseman Megan Crandell had two assists on the night, and senior goalie Camille Leonard was up to her same habits, taking over sole possession of the Cards’ program career wins as a goalie record with her 70th win. That win also gave her the same record in all of NCAA Division III.

Crandell said that the team was happy to end the season off well but stressed that it doesn’t mean anything yet.
“We’re coming into these playoffs as if nothing over the last few years happened,” Crandell said. “We’re hungry and we want to make sure that we come out of the playoffs successful.”

Saturday’s game was a bit tighter of an affair, and though PSUC did get another Sheeran goal, some scoring help came from less common players. Junior defenseman Lizzy Viola got the first goal of her Cardinal career, freshman forward Sarah Wolf scored her third goal on the year, and sophomore goalie Kassi Abbott made 21 saves en route to the 3-3 tie. Both teams took five penalties each, with Buffalo capitalizing one of their powerplays.

Getting to see players like Wolf and Viola score goals like that was something Houle enjoyed seeing.
“It was nice to see Lizzy score,” Houle said. “Sarah’s play as a freshman, in a limited role, has been really nice to see.”

Wolf herself has been having fun experiencing what has been a tremendous season for the team.
“We wish we didn’t have the one loss and tie, but we’re very proud of our season,” Wolf said.

With their 1st place finish and 16-1-1 conference record, the Cards earned a first-round bye and home-ice advantage for the ECAC women’s west playoffs. Their opponent was decided in Thursday night’s quarterfinal games. Now they turn their attention to the semi-final game on Sunday.

Ahead of that matchup, Wolf was very confident that she and her team would be ready for whatever comes their way.
“We’re very prepared, this week’s practice time is huge for us,” Wolf said. “Sunday’s game is huge for us, and that’s all we’re focused on.

Before knowing who the opponent was, Houle stressed on Wednesday that the preparation for Sunday’s game won’t be too out of the ordinary.
“It’s a long week of practice. We last played on Saturday, and we don’t play again until Sunday,” Houle said. “It gives us some extra time to rest up and prepare for whoever we might be playing. Once we find out who we’re playing we’ll prepare for them like we normally would for any game.”

Finally, Houle mentioned that he’s just looking forward to being back home at the Ronald B. Stafford Arena for playoffs.
“It’ll be great to be back home to start the playoff run,” Houle said. ”We’re ready to go.”

Email Ben Watson at sports@cardinalpointsonline.com

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