BROCKPORT — Mark Constantine gave Plattsburgh State its first lead of Saturday’s game 9:18 into the third period, but Brockport quickly tied it up.
So Constantine did it again.
The junior forward tallied with 1:10 left and the Cardinals escaped with a 5-4 SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey victory.
After losing a showdown with Geneseo the night before, Plattsburgh did not start well Saturday.
“We played terrible in the first period. Terrible,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “We came out flat. (Friday) night’s game was so highly emotional, it was kind of a letdown game.
“We came out and played a bad first period. And we were lucky to get out of the first period only down two.”
The Cardinals weren’t the only ones who had a letdown. Geneseo fell to last-place Potsdam 5-2 Saturday. Plattsburgh (16-3-2, 9-1-2 SUNYAC) now has a four-point lead over the second-place Knights, who have six games remaining. The Cardinals have four left.
“It’s good to come home in first place,” Emery said. “I didn’t think it would be possible after the loss to Geneseo (Friday) night, but we got some help from our North Country rival.”
The fourth-ranked Cardinals trailed for much of the first two periods, and then Michael Cassidy tied the game at 3-3 4:24 into third. Cassidy assisted on Constantine’s first goal, which gave Plattsburgh the lead for just 1:55 — Jesse Facchini knotted it at 4-4.
Constantine’s winner came after a faceoff and was assisted by Luke Baleshta.
“I think the guys were really afraid to lose the game (Saturday),” Emery said. “This loss could’ve been really painful — if we took care of business the rest of way — come NCAA selection time.”
Constantine finished with three points and now leads the team with nine goals on the season.
The Golden Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Jake Taylor and Chris Luker and led 3-2 after two. Robbie Hall’s goal in the second period was sandwiched by Plattsburgh goals from Nick Jensen and Ryan Farnan.
Anthony Calabrese earned two assists for the Cardinals.
Spencer Finney started in the Plattsburgh net but was replaced by Mathieu Cadieux early in the second period. Cadieux picked up the win, stopping 11 of the 12 shots he faced. Emery said Finney made some great saves, but the rest of the team was playing poorly in front of him and the change was made to try to jump-start them.
Aaron Green turned away 28 shots for Brockport (6-10-3, 3-6-1).
Plattsburgh 5, Brockport 4
Plattsburgh 0 2 3 — 5
Brockport 2 1 1 — 4
First period- 1, Brock, Taylor (Cangro, DeLuca), 11:49. 2, Brock, Luker (Cangro), 14:48 (pp). Penalties: Radisa, PSU (slashing), 12:04.
Second period- 3, PSU, N. Jensen (Calabrese, Emmerling), 1:56 (pp). 4, Gen, Hall (Parks, Marinac), 4:05. 5, PSU, Farnan (Gorman, Calabrese), 7:21 (pp). Penalties: Rothfuss, Brock (interference), 0:50. Calabrese, PSU (tripping), 4:25. Ryan, PSU (hooking), 5:40. PSU (too many players), 8:35. DeFazio, Brock (interference), 11:58. Cassidy, PSU (slashing), 12:48. Pelligra, PSU (hitting after the whistle), 12:48.
Third period- 6, PSU, Cassidy (Constantine), 4:24. 7, PSU, Constantine (Cassidy), 9:18. 8, Brock, Facchini (Luker), 11:13. 9, PSU, Constantine (Baleshta), 18:50. Penalties: Cavalieri, Brock (tripping), 5:16.
Shots on goal:
Plattsburgh 11 11 11 — 33
Brockport 11 8 8 — 27
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Finney, PSU, 15-12. Cadieux, PSU, 12-11. Green, Brock, 33-28.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Plattsburgh 2-4, Brockport 1-3.