March 2, 2013

Cardinal men hope to buck the odds

PLATTSBURGH — There’s an adage in sports that says it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, but Plattsburgh State coach Bob Emery isn’t buying into that.

“Well no, because if you go back a couple games ago, they beat us five in a row, and then we beat them before that five in a row,” Emery said. “So that’s not true when it comes to Plattsburgh-Oswego. Both teams have proved that wrong.”

The Cardinals will try to disprove the conventional wisdom again tonight when they visit No. 1 seed Oswego for the SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey championship game. The winner receives an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, which starts Wednesday.

Plattsburgh beat Oswego 2-1 at the Campus Center Dec. 1 and then won 4-3 two weeks ago at Stafford Ice Arena.

The second-seeded Cardinals (19-6-1) expect the Lakers to have a chip on their shoulder after having been beaten by their archrival twice this season.

“But we’ve just gotta come out and match the intensity, even set the tempo off the start,” Plattsburgh sophomore Alex Brenton said. “We’re going to come out fired up.”

Oswego (22-4) reached the title game by skating past Buffalo State 5-2 in last week’s semifinals. The Lakers have won 13 of their 15 games in the second semester.

SUNYAC Player of the Year Paul Rodrigues leads the team with 42 points, and his 1.62 points-per-game average ranks second in Division III. Luke Moodie has a team-best 20 goals and is second with 39 points.

“I just think we’ve gotta be disciplined all over the ice,” Emery said. “They’re a real good offensive team. They’re the most opportunistic team probably in college hockey. They have a lot of guys who can score points, so we gotta play good defense.”

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