The pressure was on for the defending Division III champion Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team as PSUC hit the road last weekend to open up play in a two games against Neumann University.

The Cardinals would take the first contest with a 3-1 win, something head coach Kevin Houle hoped to see.

“That’s going to be the key to our success this year,” Houle said. “The new players chipping in as well as the returning players that are seeing more ice time this year.”

Freshman Kayla Meneghin stepped up and put PSUC up early in the first period with her second goal of the season. Meneghin’s impressive performance earned her ECAC West Rookie of the Week honors.

The Cards would see another goal from freshman Melissa Sheeran. Junior Bridget Balisy said the production from the underclassmen has been huge thus far.

“Our incoming freshman class this year has been doing excellent so far,” Balisy said. “They’re all hard workers and have contributed a lot of points so far, so hopefully they keep that up.”

In their second bout against Neumann, PSUC would see great contributions from both underclassmen and returning players. Meneghin would once again tally the first goal of the night and assistant captain Shannon Stewart knocked in two of her own. Stewart’s two scores would be her 50th and 51st goals in her collegiate career at PSUC, which helped boost the team to a 5-1 win and earn four points over the weekend.

Captain Alyssa Parke stressed the importance of earning points early into the season.

“It’s a huge deal because every conference game is another two points that you need going into playoffs toward the end of the season,” Parke said. “We always have playoffs in the back of our minds, but it is huge to start off the season with four points.”

In this weekend’s games against Chatham, Houle hopes to continue improving. He recognized Chatham as a young team with a lot of new players, but as long as the Cards play with intensity and emotion, they should come out with a pair of victories, he said.

Like PSUC, the Cougars’ roster is filled with freshmen. The Cards currently have eight new additions while Chatham has 11. This will be the first conference game of the season for the Cougars, and Balisy looks forward to this matchup and is excited to return to her home ice.

“For all of the returners, it’s going to be an exciting weekend because it’s our banner-raising, so hopefully we’ll see a lot of fans,” Balisy said. “Chatham is a team we cannot take lightly, so we have to come out with the four points at the end of the weekend and get pucks to the net to produce goals.”

Email Alex Reynolds at alex.reynolds@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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