By Collin Bolebruch
Cardinals hockey packed the house and honored its graduates as both teams hosted its annual Rock the Red and Senior Night games on back-to-back days. Late in the season, both teams are securing playoff positions and perfecting their games for the upcoming playoffs.
The No. 7 Plattsburgh Cardinals men’s hockey team (12-3-1, SUNYAC 18-5-2) beat the SUNY Potsdam Bears (5-18-1, SUNYAC 3-12) 5-3 at home Friday, Feb. 10. The game was highlighted by the season’s second-largest crowd of 1,566 and a senior night ceremony following the final buzzer.
Forward Jake Lanyi led the charge with two goals, followed by forwards Paul Bryer, Adam Tretowicz and Mitchell Hale with one each. Bryer and Tretowicz each added an assist for two points total.
“It’s awesome when we fill the building, and I think our team feeds off the fans,” Hale said. “We really love playing at home.”
Defencemen Jacob Modry and Jack Ring were effective, both with a plus-minus of three. Hale and forward Luk Jirousek tallied two blocks each. Jacob Hearne started in the goal, saving 25 Potsdam shots.
“I thought we stepped up pretty good. We had a kind of lull in the first, but we picked it back up in the second,” Modry said.
Eleven different players served time in the penalty box, resulting in 12:54 total of power plays. Both teams were able to capitalize, scoring one power play goal on three shots each. Plattsburgh shot a total of 54 times to Potsdam’s 28.
“I think, for us, it’s always our forecheck. If we do a good job getting pucks in and forechecking, I think we do a good job of having teams in,” Head Coach Steve Moffat said. “We tend to shoot a lot of pucks.”
Scoring opened just over two minutes into the game with a Lanyi goal from the right side assisted by forward Trey Thomas. Plattsburgh put the puck back in the net 29 seconds later as Tretowicz, from the slot, sent a shot between the legs of Potsdam goalie Connor Green to make the score 2-0.
Potsdam responded, tying the game in the same period. The Bears traded the puck on the Cardinals’ side before defenceman Drew Rose took his shot, deflecting off forward Robert Clerc for a goal at the 6:25 mark. Almost eight minutes later, on a power play, Potsdam forward Michael McArthur scored off a rebound for the equalizer.
Hale scored the game-winning goal on a power play in the second period. Forward Colin Callanan hit Hale, unguarded, in front of the goal. Hale then carried the puck across the goal line and past Green.
After the game, the Cardinals held a short ceremony for the team’s 2022-23 seniors, including Hale; defencemen Modry, Matt Araujo and Ryan Hogg; forwards Tretowicz and Brendan Young; and goalie Kyle Alaverdy.
“It’s great, especially for the old guys, you put in all that time and work and you hope the young guys can win one for you on senior night,” Araujo said. “I’m really proud of them.”
As graduate students, Araujo and Alaverdy will hang up their Plattsburgh skates following the conclusion of the season. Hale plans to graduate at the end of the semester and leave the team and Young is applying to graduate programs at other schools. Tretowicz believes that he’ll return for his extra year of eligibility and Hogg anticipates being on the ice next season. Modry is unsure of his future plans, but will graduate at the end of the semester.
“This group is a special group. The program was a little flat for a couple years and they really helped reestablish the program, we’ve had two really good years for them,” Moffat said. “They’ve really helped the program get back to the national scene.”
The Cardinals secured a home playoff berth after the game. Plattsburgh will host the first round of the SUNYAC Tournament Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. against an undetermined opponent.
“It’s a feel-good win, everyone in the locker room is happy,” Modry said. “It doesn’t matter if you played or not or you’re first or fourth line. We’re just rolling.”
The No. 2 Plattsburgh Cardinals women’s hockey team (21-2, NEWHL 15-1) hosted the No. 25 SUNY Canton Kangaroos (13-8-2, NEWHL 7-8-1) Saturday, Feb. 11 and won 4-1. The NEWHL matchup garnered the season’s fourth-largest crowd with 366 fans in attendance for the senior night ceremony and subsequent game.
Forward Sara Krauseneck, this season’s top scorer, added two more goals to her résumé. She stands alone with 31 total points on the season. Forwards Mae Olshanksy and Nicole Unsworth added goals of their own, and defenceman Sierra Benjamin notched two assists in addition to three blocks.
“I thought we came out great in the first, that’s something we’ve been struggling with,” Krauseneck said.
Goalie Ashley Davis started her fourth game of the season, allowing just one goal of the 13 shots in her direction. Goalie Chloe Beaubien also saw time in the net, entering the game with less than 20 minutes remaining. Beaubien was happy with the quality play through high emotions.
“I’m happy with the team effort as a whole. I think it was one of the best games we’ve played as a team,” Davis said. “We looked smooth, we looked collected for the most part of that game. That’s a great thing to see at this point in the season.”
Plattsburgh had a commanding 63 shots to Canton’s 17. Ten total players were assigned penalties, earning 12:46 of power play time across both teams. The Kangaroos’ lone goal was scored on a power play and the Cardinals had one of its own.
This matchup was the third game Plattsburgh and Canton have played against each other this season, with the Cardinals sweeping the series. Plattsburgh won 1-0 Jan. 20 and 5-2 Jan. 27.
“They have excellent goaltending,” Head Coach Kevin Houle said. “They have some talented kids and if you give them a chance, they can get the puck in the net. You can never discount them.”
As opposed to the men’s team’s post-game ceremony, the women’s team honored their departing players before the game. The class includes Beaubien, Benjamin, Davis, Krauseneck, Manager and Student Assistant Coach Hanna Rose, forward Holly Schmelzer and Unsworth.
Each senior had custom posters taped to the glass, with some highlighting career accomplishments and others poking fun at the players. Benjamin was named “Skunk Beatz” and Davis had her face pasted onto the body of Kim Kardashian. Krauseneck was featured as “Captain Kissy Lips” and Unsworth was remembered for her “Southern Teen Mom Era #MeeMah”.
A red carpet was rolled out as family members joined the seniors on the ice. Players’ names were announced and each family was given a red and a white rose.
Krauseneck was awarded with a plaque for the “2022-23 Chartwells Fan Favorite Award.”
“I don’t think my dad has honestly ever been in the rink, so that was cool for him to be here,” Schmelzer said. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about since I got here and it’s something we can share together forever.”
Dan Krauseneck recalled his daughter Sara Krauseneck’s journey as a first-year student, from fighting for playing time to scoring a goal in the 2019 NCAA DIII Women’s Ice Hockey Championship.
“From the beginning, I go, ‘You better go take someone’s job’,” Dan Krauseneck said. “[Her goal] was the most exciting part of my life and it had nothing to do with me. It was the highest pinnacle of my life, the joy I had in that moment.”
Krauseneck found herself on the ice after the game taking photos with her teammates. She had the ceremony in mind during both her goals.
“They’ve been taking me to every game for 20 years now, so it’s special,” Sara Krauseneck said. “I’m fortunate enough to have gotten a fifth year and come back and play with these girls again. You think about it a lot as a senior, but especially tonight.”
Shelley Unsworth, Nicole Unsworth’s mother, was moved by the ceremony and the commemoration of her daughter’s five-year career at Plattsburgh.
“I think she’s friends with everyone on the team. With this being her senior year on a team that she has this year, has really meant a lot to her,” Unsworth said. “I think she’s a huge mentor to a lot of the new girls this year. To see her start at the age of 4, to now…”
Nicole Unsworth, from Wisconsin, doesn’t have the chance to see her parents at every game. She’s still riding the high of the season and hasn’t mentally shut the door on her career yet.
“It was definitely special having them here, it was nice they could make it out,” Unsworth said.
Despite the graduating class featuring key players on the team, Houle isn’t worried about the rookie group. Houle took the opportunity to remember all five years of the ‘Covid Crew’s’ time in the ‘Burgh.
“[The seniors] have a national championship, which is special,” Houle said. “They’re a group that certainly means a lot to the program. They’ve had a lot of success as a team and individually. We’re just looking forward to finishing this season off and hopefully get back to the Final Four and making a run at it. They’re what Cardinal hockey is about.”
The Cards are scheduled to play the Roos for a fourth time this season. Plattsburgh will host Canton in the semifinal round of the NEWHL Tournament Feb. 25 at 3 p.m., just hours before the men’s game. The Cardinals won the tournament last year and finished the year in the NCAA DIII Final Four and are adamant to return to the big stage.
“We have a tough league to get through,” Houle said. “I think we’re heading in the right direction.”