The SUNY Plattsburgh men’s ice hockey team started off the season with two wins and two losses as first-year head coach Steve Moffat begins his tenure at Plattsburgh State.
Moffat takes over the head coaching job for the men’s hockey team after Bob Emrey, who coached the Cardinals for 30 years and accumulated a 624-215-65 record, retired from the position after last season.
Emery’s former players have nothing but praise for their former coach.
“I have the utmost respect for Bob for what he’s done here in Plattsburgh and all the NCAA,” graduate student and defenseman Philip Middleton said. “He is a historic young Division III coach and it was an honor to play under him and get to know him personally,”
Moffat has a long history at Plattsburgh State, dating back to when he was a member of the school’s hockey team from 1994 to 1998. He later served as an assistant coach under Emery for a combined 16 years.
During his time at SUNY Plattsburgh, he helped recruit and develop 13 All-Americans, 39 All-SUNYAC selections, three SUNYAC Rookies of the Year and one SUNYAC Player of the Year, with numerous Cardinals who went on to play professionally.
From 2013 to 2016, Moffat worked as the head coach for Castleton University’s men’s ice hockey team. He recruited and coached for three All-Conference selections, one All-NEHC Rookie Team member and the 2015-16 New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Rookie of the Year.
Moffat has left a good impression on his players early this season.
“[Moffat] is really good with the players. He’s not afraid to stop and talk to the guys, tell them how to do things. He is really good to approach,” senior defenseman Andrew Pizzo said.
Moffat said the transition of stepping into the head coaching job was smooth and the most important thing now is to make sure the team gels together well.
Pizzo said Moffat is expecting the returners to excel this year and bring the newcomers along with them. He said Moffat has high expectations of the newcomers when he recruited them.
Moffat said the team is young and did well in the past few weeks. He believes the team is learning and growing and has shown great potential early this season when it played The College at Brockport and No. 3 SUNY Geneseo.
Last Friday and Saturday, the Cardinals were topped by the Golden Eagles and the Knights at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Hockey Arena, with the scores of 3-1 and 2-1, respectively.
Middleton said it was tough for the team because they never want to lose a game, especially a conference game. He also said with more than half of the team made up of newcomers, it is important for them to experience the intensity of a conference game.
“We learned a lot from this past weekend and we’re excited for this upcoming weekend versus Cortland and Oswego,” Middleton said.
Middleton said the team has different characteristics but meshes well together. He also said the newcomers were a good addition to the team on and off the ice.
Pizzo also said the teams they played in the past week were harder than the teams in the preseason exhibition. He hoped the losses are a wake-up call to the team as they only have time to make a mistake once.
The team’s expectation is always to win the national championship and it starts with winning the SUNYAC conference and then going on from there. Even though winning is important, Middleton also said building off from their previous mistakes and getting better after each game and practice is important.
“We want to play our best hockey, and we believe our best hockey will help us win the games, but we don’t want to have any regrets on the ice,” Middleton said.
In this season, Pizzo hopes he can be more offensive and help the team win more games. Middleton looks forward to having a good season and be the best player he can to help the team be successful.
The team will play against No. 5 Oswego State today at 7 p.m. at Oswego in what will be a rematch of last season’s SUNYAC semifinals, where the Cards lost 3-2 to the Lakers.