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March 20, 2014

Mental game key for Aveson

Two-time All-America goalie is having her strongest season yet

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State goaltender Sydney Aveson is on a tear this season.

A finalist for the Laura Hurd Award, given annually to the best NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey player in the country, Aveson has more shutouts (13) than goals against (12) in 22 games played.

A senior from West Covina, Calif., Aveson has helped the Cardinals to a 26-1-1 overall record and a spot in the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championships semifinals.

The secret to her success is her mental approach, she said.

“This year’s all been about my mental game,” Aveson said. “I’ve been playing hockey since I was 4 years old, and I’ve got (that) end of my game down. But this year’s been all mental. I just have my head on straight. I meditate before the games, and that’s how I’ve been very successful.”

Aveson sports a 0.54 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage. Even those numbers surprise her a little bit.

“Sometimes, I’ll look at them and say, ‘Oh, that’s a little bit ridiculous,’” Aveson said. “I think it just lights a fire under my butt to keep it going just because it’s so rare.”

Aveson has been a winner with the program since transferring from Division I Minnesota State-Mankato her freshman year. The expeditionary studies major is 67-8-5 in a Plattsburgh uniform.

“She’s been very good the last two years,” Cardinals coach Kevin Houle said. “This year, she’s been exceptionally good. I think Syd was maybe called upon last year to maybe stop more pucks than she has this year.

“But this year, she’s been big when we’ve given up breakaways, when we’ve given up shots in front of the net. She’s been there. To have the type of season numbers-wise she’s had is incredible. I just think she has certainly played better every year that she’s played here, and she’s been a two-time All-American, so that’s pretty special.”

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