Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Masotta lifts Cardinals to win

Julia Masotta celebrates in the high five line after her fourth goal during the semifinals win over Morrisville Feb. 24.

 

By Michael Purtell

In life, three things are constant. Death, taxes and the Cardinals hosting the conference finals.

The Cardinals’ 5-1 SUNYAC Semifinal win over the Morrisville Mustangs Saturday, Feb 24 has it set to face off against Cortland in the SUNYAC finals. Plattsburgh has hosted every ECAC West, NEWHL and SUNYAC Final since 2014.

Plattsburgh has won every title since 2013.

Cortland handed Plattsburgh its first and only conference loss of the NEWHL’s existence. Ever since, the matchups between the two have been highly competitive.

Cortland was one of just three teams to take a game off of the Cardinals this season when it won the final regular matchup 2-3 Feb. 17.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s something I think both teams look forward to,” forward Emma McLean said. “They’re a great team, they’re fast, and we know every time we play them, everyone is giving it all. It’s a little more than just a game, it’s a rivalry at this point.”

 

By Collin Boolebruch

Emma McLean (9) takes the puck while Ciara Wall (34) blocks two Mustangs.

 

In the Semifinals win, Masotta scored four goals. The mark is tied for the second most goals scored in Plattsburgh women’s hockey history and is the program’s record for most goals in a playoff game, according to Plattsburgh State’s athletic website.

“I’m just excited about the win and to be able to keep playing hockey, but it does feel good,” Masotta said. “I’ve been in a bit of a two-goal slump my entire career, so it’s definitely a bit of confidence there. It’s a good accomplishment.”

Masotta had never scored more than two goals in a single college game.

Plattsburgh grabbed its first lead just four minutes and 20 seconds into the game. McLean put a shot on net that was blocked by Mustang Emma Thompson, but McLean and forward Ciara Wall worked the rebound to Masotta, who drove it past the goaltender for her first of the night.

Morrisville goaltender Maggie Jones dropped low to block a shot by forward Ava Mattaliano six minutes later. The blocked shot was corralled by the Cardinals yet again as Mattaliano and forward Aizah Thompson found Masotta in position to put the biscuit into the top shelf of the net for the game winner.

Masotta matched her collegiate career high in the first period alone.

Morrisville gave up its first power play of the night in the second period, when Thompson was called for hooking. Wall ended the power play early when she banked her shot into the net off of the back of Jones’ leg pads. The goal puts Wall in double digits for goals this season with 10 and marked her second playoff goal as a Cardinal.

Plattsburgh won the battle of the penalties, keeping its skaters out of the box for 55 minutes to open the game. Morrisville generated four shots on goal during forward Riley Calhoun’s penalty for hooking with five minutes left and scored its only goal of the night.

In contrast, Morrisville picked up six penalties. Plattsburgh used the skater advantage to generate 10 shots, including two goals.

The Cardinals scored the second power play goal skating five on three at the end of the second period, where Morrisville picked up two penalties. Plattsburgh forward Mattie Norton shot on goal, retrieved the blocked shot and got the puck to Masotta who scored by blasting the puck straight over Jones with one second on the clock.

When the Mustangs went to a new tender, Elizabeth Timby, Masotta was undeterred. McLean caught the puck in the neutral zone and found Masotta alone with a nice touch pass. Masotta had Timby on an island. Masotta hit Timby with a deke and chipped the puck in on the ground, bringing the game to 5-1.

“Emma (McLean) made a great play, so that’s a huge credit to her,” Masotta said.

The Cardinals faced uncertainty within their skating lines as various forwards have missed games in the closing weeks of the season.

Plattsburgh solidified its lines against Morrisville before heading into the championship against Cortland. 

McLean started the playoff game in the extra forward position, an unusual tactic for the team as McLean doesn’t usually play on the first line. It paid off for the Cards, as McLean was plus-two and recorded two assists. 

“We’ve had a bit of sickness going around, including myself. I think Emma has done a good job with where she’s been put,” forward Ivy Boric said. “Not a lot of time to get adjusted to that spot, but I think she’s done well and I think the team as a whole has adjusted accordingly.” 

Cortland is a team neither Plattsburgh hockey team can shake. The men’s team will be hosting the Red Dragons for the SUNYAC Championship Final immediately after the conclusion of the women’s game.

The women’s SUNYAC Championship Final will be hosted in Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m.

“We have the best coaching staff in Division III in my opinion,” Masotta said. “You know, they’ve got a great coaching staff too. So it’s gonna be a good game.”

 

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