PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State men’s hockey coach Bob Emery said from the outset that the toughest games to win are the ones you’re supposed to win.
The No. 9-ranked Cardinals (16-6-1, 11-2-1 SUNYAC) overcame an early one-goal deficit with three unanswered tallies in a 3-1 victory over The College at Brockport at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Saturday night.
“I didn’t think we came out of the locker room with enough emotion (Saturday),” Emery said. “I thought the leadership should’ve been better, but I thought we played pretty good defense. Obviously, our best leader (Saturday) was our goaltender and that’s the most important position in the game. I think we rallied behind (Mathieu Cadieux), who was there equal to the task every time.”
Jesse Facchini helped the Golden Eagles (5-16-2, 4-10-1) get on the board first with just 4:06 gone in the opening period.
However, the lead was short-lived.
Kevin Emmerling found Brandon Beadow joining the rush and fed the sophomore defenseman on a one-timer in the low slot, tying the game at 1-all just 48 seconds after Facchini’s marker.
Then, Dillan Fox sent home his second goal of the weekend on a rebound chance just outside of the crease at 14:36.
“I was just kind of breaking into the zone and Nick Jensen passed it to (Jared Docking)…I just went to the net and the puck was lying there,” Fox said. “I was able to put it on net, and I just saw (the puck) lying between his legs and jammed it in there. I think we started off kind of slow, so it was a big goal to give us the lead going into the locker room.”
The Docking-Fox-Andrew Smith line finished with a combined four points on the night, while Docking and Fox each registered a plus-two rating.
“That line is playing well,” Emery said. “Our biggest energy guy is on that line. Docking carries that line and (Fox) is playing well, but Docking is carrying that line.”
Neither team was able to register a marker in the second period, but Plattsburgh held the advantage in shots on goal, 16-13.
“In the second period, I thought we had a lot of good looks; a lot of great looks,” Emery said. “They had 13 shots in the second period, but I thought we did somewhat of a good job keeping them to the outside. That’s what we want to try to do — keep our opponents’ shots to the outside if we can and eliminate second shots around the front of the net.”
The game remained 2-1 until Alex Jensen buried his second goal in as many games, extending the differential to two.
Entering the weekend, Alex Jensen had gone 14 games without a goal. However, the sophomore forward ended a drought that dated back to November and now has six goals this season.
Cadieux, who finished with 24 saves on 25 shots faced, said his team’s ability to block shots in the second and third periods allowed his team to gain confidence.
“Not only are they stopping a potential scoring chance, but they’re getting some emotion to the bench and everybody on the ice,” Cadieux said. “The pucks they didn’t block, they made sure to get guys out of my way for a clear lane to see the puck.”
In other SUNYAC action, Kenny Simon’s game-winning goal at 0:40 of overtime helped Potsdam slip past Geneseo 4-3. Oswego’s Bobby Gertsakis tallied a marker with six seconds remaining in regulation, helping the Lakers to a dramatic 3-2 win over Fredonia.
Plattsburgh currently sits second in the standings, three points behind Oswego and two points above Geneseo. The Cardinals control their own fate when they host Cortland Friday and Oswego Saturday to close out the regular season,
“We’ve got to be able to turn it up a little bit more,” Emery said. “We only play 25 nights a year. This is one of those teams — we don’t have a lot of high-energy guys, but we’ve got to find some more energy here in the next few weeks. The season has come down to seven days, so we have to find the energy.”
Plattsburgh State 3,
Brockport 1 0 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 2 0 1 — 3
First period- 1, BRC, Facchini (Cangro), 4:06. 2, PSU, Beadow (Emmerling, Fox), 4:54. 3, PSU, Fox (Docking, N. Jensen), 14:36.
Second period- Penalties: DeLuca, BRC (interference), 2:35. Ryan, BRC (hooking), 10:11. Smith, PSU (tripping), 12:14.
Third period- 4, PSU, A. Jensen (Docking, Emmerling), 6:59. Penalties: Emmerling, PSU (holding), 4:50. Polino, BRC (goaltender interference), 19:08.
Shots on goal:
Brockport 7 13 5 — 25
Plattsburgh 15 16 5 — 36
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Green, BRC, 36-33. Cadieux, PSU, 25-24.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Brockport 0-2; Plattsburgh 0-3.