Saturday, July 13, 2024

Cards take first round win

Bennett Stockdale sends one of his 13 shots in the match past a defender’s stick. Stockdale was named to the All-SUNYAC first team. 

 

By Collin Bolebruch

The Plattsburgh Cardinals men’s hockey team (20-4-2, 12-3-1) defeated the Potsdam Bears (8-17-1, 5-11) 3-2 in overtime in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Plattsburgh advances to play the Oswego Lakers (16-8-1, 12-4) in the semifinal at Marano Ice Arena Saturday, Feb. 24.

The stat sheet tells a different story than the final score. The Cardinals took a season-high 66 shots to the Bears’ 19. Potsdam first-year Lenny Perno stood on his head to save 63.

“That was insane. It was probably the best goalie performance I’ve seen in my college career,” junior goalie Jacob Hearne said.

Perno took pucks to the gut, dove across the net and did splits to stop Plattsburgh from scoring.

“We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them,” Head Coach Steve Moffat said. “At this time of the year, keeping it out is more important than scoring.”

His efforts weren’t enough to stop Bennett Stockdale, who scored the game-winning goal after 74:23 of action.

Hearne earned the start in the net. Moffat turned to Hearne Wednesday for just his second career playoff start — the first being a 6-7 loss to Brockport in 2022. Hearne was more than ready when duty called, saving 17 shots.

“I was excited and definitely a little nervous,” Hearne said. “I think nerves are good. I can build off them and try and play the best I can.”

Stockdale scored the game’s first goal 10 minutes into the first, when he rebounded a Luk Jirousek shot and put it past Perno. A crowd of over 1,500 lit up, bringing a much-needed home crowd edge.

Potsdam sophomore Ryan Mahlmeister leveled the playing field five minutes later, firing a biscuit past Hearne. The shot silenced Plattsburgh fans, but Hearne didn’t let the mistake phase him.

“[My teammates] stood tall in front of me when I needed to be picked up,” Hearne said. “I was really happy and fortunate to play behind them.”

Both teams played far more special teams than they’d like to. A total of 12 power plays — six by each team — were initiated during the game.

Halfway through the second period, Stockdale was sent to the penalty box for interference during a power play. Graduate student and captain Adam Tretowicz let the referees know his displeasure, and in response, he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and sat for 10 minutes.

Sophomore Brannon Butler hit Jirousek on the breakaway, and Jirousek barreled down the ice and scored less than a minute into four-on-four play. In the face of adversity, Plattsburgh pulled ahead. Potsdam then entered the power play.

Less traffic on the ice didn’t mean an increase in scoring. Just one power play goal was scored all game, when senior Kevin Weaver-Vitale entered the box for boarding, and Potsdam senior Jack Loran sank a puck. Both Potsdam goals came off Plattsburgh turnovers.

Plattsburgh totaled 18 shots on power plays to Potsdam’s four, another figure that suggested a lopsided contest.

“I made sure that I’m not drifting off in my mind,” Hearne said. “There were many times where I was just standing in my net watching our team.”

The third period ended scoreless, as Weaver-Vitale missed a potential winner with 14 seconds remaining.

Postseason overtime called for an extra 20-minute period, with sudden death rules. With a clear shot advantage, the win seemed inevitable for Plattsburgh, but Perno just didn’t quit.

A Bear was penalized for hooking four minutes into the fourth, starting what should have been the dagger power play for the Cardinals.

Instead, Perno saved five shots and successfully killed the penalty.

Plattsburgh returned the favor just over five minutes later, when junior Jack Ring was called for tripping. Hearne and Perno saved the same amount of shots over those two minutes — one.

“It’s playoff hockey,” Moffat said. “It’s going to be tight.”

The Cardinals held a stark 15-2 shots advantage entering a Potsdam timeout 14:19 into overtime. Looking at a face-off, Moffat knew what to do.

“If you’re going to have two guys to make a play, Tio and Bennett are two pretty good options,” Moffat said.

Jirousek won the face-off and got the puck straight to Stockdale on the outside of the right face-off circle. Stockdale handed it off to first-year Tio D’Addario and beelined to Perno’s left side.

D’Addario carried the puck around the outside of the circle, drawing Perno to the right.

“It was right on my tape,” Stockdale said. “Didn’t have to do too much.”

D’Addario then hit a wide open Stockdale in the crease for the score.

“[Bennett] said ‘Nice call,’” Moffat said. “I said, ‘Nice finish.’”

Stockdale raised his arms in celebration, rolling over a referee. The bench emptied to mob him. D’Addario was the first to embrace Stockdale. Jirousek and Tretowicz nearly tackled them.

After toying with Perno for far too long, Stockdale sunk the one that mattered. In this game, in front of this crowd, with this team, Plattsburgh knew it had to get it done.

“It was just a matter of bearing down,” Stockdale said. “We had a good feeling.”

Hearne soaked in the moment with his goaltender teammate Eli Shiller. After Shiller stepped in for last year’s playoffs, Hearne got his chance.

“It was nice to get that monkey off my back,” Hearne said. “It’s just the game we play. We love every second of it, especially out there tonight in that atmosphere.” 

The Cardinals now face the Lakers in a rematch of last year’s SUNYAC Championship, when Plattsburgh won 2-1 in Oswego’s rink March 4, 2023.

Oswego has been a thorn in Plattsburgh’s side all season, being the only SUNYAC team to beat the Cardinals twice. 

The Lakers came to Plattsburgh and beat the No. 1 Cardinals 5-3 Dec. 2, 2023, ending hopes of an undefeated season.

Oswego beat Plattsburgh again, 3-4 Feb. 10. The late-season win was the tiebreaker for the second seed, as both teams ended with 25 points in the standings — meaning the Lakers earned the first round bye over the Cardinals.

Now, after skating 64 minutes in a 2-1 win against Fredonia Feb. 17 and 74 against Potsdam, the Cardinals need to refuel before Saturday.

“We have to do a good job tomorrow recovering,” Moffat said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here.”

The Plattsburgh Cardinals men’s hockey team (20-4-2, 12-3-1) defeated the Potsdam Bears (8-17-1, 5-11) 3-2 in overtime in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Plattsburgh advances to play the Oswego Lakers (16-8-1, 12-4) in the semifinal at Marano Ice Arena Saturday, Feb. 24.

The stat sheet tells a different story than the final score. The Cardinals took a season-high 66 shots to the Bears’ 19. Potsdam first-year Lenny Perno stood on his head to save 63.

“That was insane. It was probably the best goalie performance I’ve seen in my college career,” junior goalie Jacob Hearne said.

Perno took pucks to the gut, dove across the net and did splits to stop Plattsburgh from scoring.

“We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them,” Head Coach Steve Moffat said. “At this time of the year, keeping it out is more important than scoring.”

His efforts weren’t enough to stop Bennett Stockdale, who scored the game-winning goal after 74:23 of action.

Hearne earned the start in the net. Moffat turned to Hearne Wednesday for just his second career playoff start — the first being a 6-7 loss to Brockport in 2022. Hearne was more than ready when duty called, saving 17 shots.

“I was excited and definitely a little nervous,” Hearne said. “I think nerves are good. I can build off them and try and play the best I can.”

Stockdale scored the game’s first goal 10 minutes into the first, when he rebounded a Luk Jirousek shot and put it past Perno. A crowd of over 1,500 lit up, bringing a much-needed home crowd edge.

Potsdam sophomore Ryan Mahlmeister leveled the playing field five minutes later, firing a biscuit past Hearne. The shot silenced Plattsburgh fans, but Hearne didn’t let the mistake phase him.

“[My teammates] stood tall in front of me when I needed to be picked up,” Hearne said. “I was really happy and fortunate to play behind them.”

Both teams played far more special teams than they’d like to. A total of 12 power plays — six by each team — were initiated during the game.

Halfway through the second period, Stockdale was sent to the penalty box for interference during a power play. Graduate student and captain Adam Tretowicz let the referees know his displeasure, and in response, he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and sat for 10 minutes.

Sophomore Brannon Butler hit Jirousek on the breakaway, and Jirousek barreled down the ice and scored less than a minute into four-on-four play. In the face of adversity, Plattsburgh pulled ahead. Potsdam then entered the power play.

Less traffic on the ice didn’t mean an increase in scoring. Just one power play goal was scored all game, when senior Kevin Weaver-Vitale entered the box for boarding, and Potsdam senior Jack Loran sank a puck. Both Potsdam goals came off Plattsburgh turnovers.

Plattsburgh totaled 18 shots on power plays to Potsdam’s four, another figure that suggested a lopsided contest.

“I made sure that I’m not drifting off in my mind,” Hearne said. “There were many times where I was just standing in my net watching our team.”

The third period ended scoreless, as Weaver-Vitale missed a potential winner with 14 seconds remaining.

Postseason overtime called for an extra 20-minute period, with sudden death rules. With a clear shot advantage, the win seemed inevitable for Plattsburgh, but Perno just didn’t quit.

A Bear was penalized for hooking four minutes into the fourth, starting what should have been the dagger power play for the Cardinals.

Instead, Perno saved five shots and successfully killed the penalty.

Plattsburgh returned the favor just over five minutes later, when junior Jack Ring was called for tripping. Hearne and Perno saved the same amount of shots over those two minutes — one.

“It’s playoff hockey,” Moffat said. “It’s going to be tight.”

The Cardinals held a stark 15-2 shots advantage entering a Potsdam timeout 14:19 into overtime. Looking at a face-off, Moffat knew what to do.

“If you’re going to have two guys to make a play, Tio and Bennett are two pretty good options,” Moffat said.

Jirousek won the face-off and got the puck straight to Stockdale on the outside of the right face-off circle. Stockdale handed it off to first-year Tio D’Addario and beelined to Perno’s left side.

D’Addario carried the puck around the outside of the circle, drawing Perno to the right.

“It was right on my tape,” Stockdale said. “Didn’t have to do too much.”

D’Addario then hit a wide open Stockdale in the crease for the score.

“[Bennett] said ‘Nice call,’” Moffat said. “I said, ‘Nice finish.’”

Stockdale raised his arms in celebration, rolling over a referee. The bench emptied to mob him. D’Addario was the first to embrace Stockdale. Jirousek and Tretowicz nearly tackled them.

After toying with Perno for far too long, Stockdale sunk the one that mattered. In this game, in front of this crowd, with this team, Plattsburgh knew it had to get it done.

“It was just a matter of bearing down,” Stockdale said. “We had a good feeling.”

Hearne soaked in the moment with his goaltender teammate Eli Shiller. After Shiller stepped in for last year’s playoffs, Hearne got his chance.

“It was nice to get that monkey off my back,” Hearne said. “It’s just the game we play. We love every second of it, especially out there tonight in that atmosphere.” 

The Cardinals now face the Lakers in a rematch of last year’s SUNYAC Championship, when Plattsburgh won 2-1 in Oswego’s rink March 4, 2023.

Oswego has been a thorn in Plattsburgh’s side all season, being the only SUNYAC team to beat the Cardinals twice. 

The Lakers came to Plattsburgh and beat the No. 1 Cardinals 5-3 Dec. 2, 2023, ending hopes of an undefeated season.

Oswego beat Plattsburgh again, 3-4 Feb. 10. The late-season win was the tiebreaker for the second seed, as both teams ended with 25 points in the standings — meaning the Lakers earned the first round bye over the Cardinals.

Now, after skating 64 minutes in a 2-1 win against Fredonia Feb. 17 and 74 against Potsdam, the Cardinals need to refuel before Saturday.

“We have to do a good job tomorrow recovering,” Moffat said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here.”

 

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