Another semester, another winning record.
The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team rides a 17-2-2 overall record and 11-0-1 conference record into this weekend’s home-and-home series against the Potsdam Bears after a pair of games against the Oswego Lakers last weekend.
Since returning from their short winter break, the Cardinals have gone 8-0-2 overall and 5-0-1 in the NEWHL after an uncharacteristic two-loss first half.
Head coach Kevin Houle understands that there is still work to be done.
“We’ve been up and down,” Houle said. “The record looks good on paper, but with both of those ties, we had leads in the third period that we gave up, so we let a couple points slip away there.”
One of those ties came last weekend as PSUC beat Oswego 6-2 Friday before tying the Lakers 2-2 Saturday.
Among Friday’s six goals were two scored by senior right wing Kayla Meneghin, moving her past former player and current assistant coach Danielle Blanchard to second place on the all-time PSUC women’s hockey scoring list with 178 career points. Meneghin was predictably humble when she found out about the accolade.
“I honestly didn’t know that, but it’s pretty cool,” Meneghin said. “I obviously can’t do it without my teammates.”
But whatever praise Meneghin was too humble to put on herself, Houle was happy to give.
“It’s really an amazing accomplishment when you think about the consistency in her scoring,” Houle said. “For most kids it takes a year to acclimate and put up 35 to 50 points, but she’s been around that number for all four years. She’s had quite a career.”
Her 178 points are also good for 7th all-time in NCAA Division III women’s hockey scoring.
That same game saw four other goal scorers, with senior left wing Melissa Sheeran, sophomore right wing Meghan Kraus and freshmen left wing Madison Walker and right wing Abby Brush spreading the scoring around in the blowout win. Freshman center Annie Katonka also got in on the action with a career high three-assist game.
Houle has been enjoying the options that his freshmen have given him.
“We’ve been pretty pleased most of the second semester with the play of Katonka, Brush and Walker,” Houle said. “They’ve given us a third line that can give us some secondary scoring.”
Senior goalie Kassi Abbott made 21 saves in the win to improve her record on the season to 10-1-1.
Saturday’s tie saw goals from Sheeran and junior left wing Courtney Moriarty. Moriarty’s goal put her into a tie for the NCAA Division III lead in powerplay goals with eight.
“She just has great speed, great intensity,” Houle said. “She’s got a great shot so she can score from the outside, in tight she has the talent to beat a goalie, and she loves to score the ugly goals. She’s been a great all-around player for us who plays a great two-way game.”
Moriarty is also two goals away from tying Sheeran’s NCAA Division III single-season game winning goals record (11) that Sheeran set last season.
New Division I transfer junior left defense Baye Flanagan assisted on both goals in the tie, bringing her to one goal and nine assists in her 10 games since joining the Cards.
“She has very good vision and moves the puck well,” Houle said. “She’s scored and set up some goals in some big games.”
Flanagan was happy to be transitioning well, but credited the team as a big part of her success.
“It’s nice to be able to come in and do well but a lot of it comes from having a good team with you, so I don’t get all the credit,” Flanagan said.
The games against Potsdam this weekend won’t hold much meaning for PSUC, but the Bears will be looking to get as many points as possible to jockey for a better playoff position, and Houle knows it.
“We have to realize that every team we play down the stretch will be fighting for a playoff spot or a better spot,” Houle said. “Potsdam is fighting, and they need to take points from somebody down the stretch. We know they’d like to take them from us.”
Email Ben Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org