A night that began by honoring the 1992 national champions ended by lauding a major coaching milestone. After two wins to start SUNYAC play, the Plattsburgh State men’s ice hockey team looks to down two tough conference foes on the road.
The Cardinals got their first wins of the regular season last weekend with 12-4 and 3-0 victories over SUNY Morrisville. While the defense was improved from the previous weekend, PSUC head coach Bob Emery was not content.
“I think we can be better,” Emery said. “Especially, the first night. I think we gave up too many quality chances.”
The Cards’ offense did offset the defensive concerns, and the team was able to collect an easy win.
“When you have a lead like we had, you tend to go into defensive lapse,” Emery said. “That is understandable, but not really acceptable.”
The game featured a hat trick from freshman forward Rich McCartney, the first goals of his collegiate career. McCartney credited the coaches for preparing the team well.
“I think our practices are very intense, very competitive,” McCartney said. “That definitely makes us ready for the weekend.”
Regarding the team’s offensive and special teams play on the weekend, Emery was upbeat in his reflection.
“Those are the games I like to coach, sometimes.”
Emery was quick to change his tune, though, to acknowledge that this experience may not prepare the team for the future.
“You have got to know it is not going to be like that all the time,” Emery said. “We got their top goalie on an off night. He showed he is one of the better goalies in the league Saturday night.”
While Morrisville’s Jared Young played well on one end of the ice, it was PSUC’s freshman goaltender Jimmy Poreda who recorded the shutout victory on the night. Poreda was quick to acknowledge the team effort.
“I think I made maybe one or two quality saves,” Poreda said. “But other than that it was pretty routine. The team keeping things to the outside and blocking shots made it easy for me.”
Saturday’s 3-0 victory was the 600th win of Emery’s career, and the game ended with a brief tribute to this milestone, with a framed jersey presented by Emery’s family on the ice.
“It was a nice tribute by everybody,” Emery said. “But it still means you have got to win 601, and that is more important now.”
1994 PSUC graduate Chris Fess, who joined the Cards in Emery’s first season as head coach, was on hand to witness the milestone and offered his reflection after the game.
“It is hard to believe he is that old, but I am proud for Bobby” Fess, who was also present for Emery’s 200th and 400th wins, said.
The game began with a ceremony for the 1992 national championship team, inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday to mark 25 years since the title.
“It is a great honor to come back and see all of the guys,” Fess said. “We get together after 25 years, and it is like we never missed a beat.”
Emery echoed that appreciation.
“It was great to see everyone,” Emery said. “Great to see how successful everyone is off the ice.”
Fess said that the return to Plattsburgh was an opportunity to reconnect with more than just his former teammates.
“To come back and see the community and the support for the team is an awesome experience,” Fess said. “It is a small community in Cardinal Country. When you leave it, you miss it because it is a special place to play”.
Celebrating a past championship, Fess offered his thoughts on the current team’s chances of achieving that goal.
“I think they are going to be there at the end of the season this year,” Fess said. “With the coaches and their experience, they are going to have them there.”
The No. 13/14 Cards will continue that journey with a road weekend against two difficult conference opponents in The College at Brockport and No. 8/8 SUNY Geneseo. In the case of Brockport, the Cards have failed to win a game against the Golden Eagles in the last two seasons.
“I am hoping that motivates us,” Emery said. “We know they have a good goalie who played really well against us twice last year.”
The players are looking at this adversity positively and feel mentally prepared for the challenge.
“I think we’re going to enjoy our first road trip together as a team and hopefully come out with two wins.”
Email Nathanael LePage at firstname.lastname@example.org