The Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team has improved its record to 11-8-1 (6-4-1 in conference) by going 5-0-1 in its last six games, situating them back in playoff contention.
“We just need to keep to the plan we’ve been sticking with, which is keeping it simple,” sophomore forward Cole Stallard said. “If we just keep to ourselves and not worry about the adversity we have ahead of us, we should be okay.”
The Cardinals will finish the remainder of their regular season away from home, which may pose as a challenge.
Despite that, they concluded their regular season home schedule this past weekend by defeating Fredonia 3-1 on Senior Day, giving them a 10-6 record at Stafford Ice Arena this season.
“We love to keep things real simple,” Stallard said. “When we fought the tough start in the beginning, everybody has a slight chip on their shoulder. Everyone wants to win because of how much fun winning is.”
Stallard, who led the Cards with 12 goals last season, netted his 10th goal of the season Saturday.
“I just try to enjoy playing the game,” Stallard said. “I try not to think too much about what I plan on doing ahead of the time, instead of just going in and doing it. It comes more natural that way and makes things a bit easier.”
PSUC’s win Saturday over Fredonia held a little more significance to the seniors, as they were honored by the fans and organization for their hard work and dedication during their time on the ice for the Cards.
“One of the biggest things that I can take out of my time here is all of the amazing people in this community,” senior forward Kyle Hall said, who is one of the three seniors on this year’s team. “I regret not reaching out earlier in my career. I’ve started to get to know a lot of people outside of the rink, and there are some amazing people here that support the Cards. Just getting to know them has been an awesome experience for me.”
This year’s seniors, Hall, goal keeper Brady Rouleau and defenseman Patrick Hermans, have exemplified what it means to represent PSUC. With this team being particularly younger compared to teams in the past, these seniors’ legacies will have a lasting effect on this program for the next few years to come.
“All I have to say to the young guys is to reach out to the community,” Hall said. “And to staying committed to being a Cardinal hockey player on and off the ice with respect, dedication and hard work.”
PSUC has had an up-and-down season, but overall has played good hockey. Despite the rocky beginning part of the season, the Cards have turned things around of late and have been playing their best hockey all season. There are many things that have influenced this turnaround, and it all stems from leadership and accountability.
“Some of our adversity at the start of the year really helped us come closer together,” Hall said. “We’re playing more as a team and more for each other lately, and it’s working really well for us.”
With adversity in their rear view mirror, and nothing but road games at their horizon, the Cards remain poised during such a pivotal point in the season.
“We were working so hard, but we weren’t getting the results we wanted,” Hall said about the team’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everything’s been clicking lately. Everything has come together and is paying for us now. We have a few more weeks to keep moving forward and keep improving, so hopefully we can do that.”
The last time PSUC faced off against Cortland and Oswego, the Cards split the series at home by defeating Cortland 4-3 but falling to Oswego 4-1. This time around, PSUC will look to complete the weekend sweep, this time on the road.
“They both played us really hard last time we played these teams,” Hall said. “We’ve grown as a team since then, so I think we will be able to put the effort in to make it a good two games.”
The Cards will be in Cortland Friday for the drop of the puck at 7 p.m., then will make their way over to Oswego for Saturday’s game, also at 7 p.m.
“We’re really on a roll, so I hope we can build off what we’ve been doing in order to keep it going,” Hall said.
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com