PLATTSBURGH — After being uncharacteristically generous to start the second semester, the Cardinals were back to their usual stingy selves Saturday.
Plattsburgh State allowed just one goal and Alex Jensen recorded a hat trick in a 6-1 nonconference men’s hockey victory against Castleton State. The game marked the return of Steve Moffat, a longtime Plattsburgh assistant who made his first visit to Stafford Ice Arena as an opposing head coach.
Plattsburgh (12-1-2) gave up eight goals in its previous three games but played better in the defensive zone Saturday.
“We really stressed (Saturday) we were going to try to win the game 1-0 if we had to,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “And we weren’t quite there, but we kept our opponent to one.
“I just thought the players were more self-responsible of pucks in our own end.”
The third-ranked Cardinals have a rare midweek game coming up next; they’ll visit Norwich on Tuesday.
Plattsburgh’s Michael Radisa tied Saturday’s game with a wrist shot from the left circle early in the second period, and then the Cardinals pulled ahead due to a bit of a lucky break. Jensen raced in on a short-handed chance, and when Castleton goalie Mark Hochman came out to challenge him, both went sprawling to the ice. The puck kept going — straight into the open net.
“I think that was the turning point of the game,” Moffat said.
Indeed, it didn’t take Plattsburgh long to build a cushion. The Spartans almost killed off a 5-on-3 in the middle of the period, but Graham Yeo tallied his first collegiate goal 26 seconds before the penalties expired. Shortly afterward, Jensen netted his second of the game.
Michael Cassidy made it 5-1 in the third, and Jensen completed the hat trick in the final minute with the help of a nice pass from his brother Nick. The elder Jensen also assisted on Alex’s first goal.