Saturday, September 26, 2020

Fighting back from early deficits could become issue later in season

After opening the season with a win, the Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team returned to the Stafford Ice Arena, looking to capture two SUNYAC victories against conference foes Fredonia and Buffalo State.

The Cardinals (3-0-0, 2-0-0 SUNYAC) secured wins in both weekend matchups, defeating Fredonia 5-1 Friday evening and Buffalo State 4-2 Saturday night.

As the puck dropped in PSUC’s contest against Fredonia, both teams generated scoring chances early. While the Cards collected a 5-1 victory, it was the Blue Devils who tallied the first goal of the game, handing PSUC a 1-0 deficit heading into the first intermission.

When the second period began, however, the Cards made sure to quickly erase Fredonia’s lead and start to take control of the game.

Senior forward Kevin Emmerling netted a power play goal three minutes into the period to even the score and then tallied his second goal of the game five minutes later, allowing the Cards to grab a 2-1 lead.

In the third period, PSUC sealed the game, scoring three additional times. Senior defenseman Rich Botting found the back of the net, and freshman forwards Pat Egan and Ross Sloan each notched their first goal as Cards.

After the game, Sloan said he is enjoying his first season at PSUC and voiced how relieved and excited he was to pick up his first collegiate goal.

“To get the first one off your back is pretty relaxing,” Sloan said. “It was probably one of the best goals I have scored. Emotionally, it felt really good, and I can’t wait to get some more.”

As PSUC headed into their second conference battle against Buffalo State, the Cards experienced similar circumstances to their previous game.

The Bengals tallied a goal early in the second period to take a 1-0 lead, but PSUC wasn’t fazed. The Cards responded with two goals in 15 seconds and seized momentum of the game after forwards Brandon O’Quinn and Cole Stallard scored.

In the third period, freshman forward Nick Belger and senior forward Connor Gorman each buried their first goal of the season as PSUC closed out Buffalo State.

Reflecting on the weekend, PSUC head coach Bob Emery stressed the importance of winning SUNYAC games and was happy to secure two home victories. Emery also acknowledged he was pleased with how the Cards handled the 1-0 deficits they faced in each game but wants his team to jump ahead and score first moving forward.

“I definitely want to get the first goal,” Emery said. “We are not going to be able to do this all year, but the fact that we don’t panic and are able to come back is really good.”

Emery said PSUC played well in both games but also indicated the Cards can’t be complacent and need to solidify their game, continue working and minimize errors.

“We got a lot of new guys, so it’s definitely a work in progress,” Emery said. “A lot of people tease me on that, but it’s definitely a work in progress. I’m in the business as a coach of correcting mistakes whether we like it or not, and we need to work on our mistakes and correct them.”

PSUC will return to the ice when they travel to face Oswego State Friday and SUNY Cortland Saturday, knowing both SUNYAC matchups will be challenging.

“The SUNYAC is arguably one of the best conferences in the country,” senior forward Kevin Emmerling said. “Every night in the SUNYAC is a battle, and we know that, so it only makes it more fun showing up and competing every night.”

Emmerling also noted how PSUC is starting to formulate some good chemistry with each other. He acknowledged the Cards want to continue improving and believes the approach and mindset all the players have as a team suits them well.

“We are just focusing on taking it one day at a time,” Emmerling said, “and if we play as hard as we can, I think this team has a lot ahead of us.”

Email Joey LaFranca at joseph.lafranca@cardinalpointsonline.com

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