March 16, 2013

Cardinals fall in NCAA Div. III semifinals

SUPERIOR, Wisc. — Early in Friday’s third period, Plattsburgh State scored a goal, got a great chance at another and then quickly went on the power play.

The Cardinals hadn’t lost all season, and they seemed primed for a comeback. But Middlebury held them off the rest of the period.

Molly Downey scored with 2:35 left to give the Panthers a two-goal cushion and they added an empty-netter for a 4-1 victory in the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship semifinals at Wessman Arena.

“I certainly thought that Middlebury was capable of beating us. I know how they can play when they get it rolling,” Plattsburgh coach Kevin Houle said. “And they certainly came out strong in the first period and had us back on our heels. But as the game wore on, I thought we got better and better and turned the tides.

“But we just came up a little bit short (Friday).”

The Cardinals (26-1-2) will play Gustavus Adolphus in this afternoon’s third-place game, and then Middlebury and Elmira will vie for the national championship.

Middlebury (20-7-2) was up 2-0 after two periods, and then Chelsea VanGlahn cut into the lead at 3:07 of the third when she skated in on the right side and put the puck past Annabelle Jones with an assist from Ali Vakos. VanGlahn nearly tied it shortly after, ringing a puck off the crossbar, and then the Cardinals got a power play.

They controlled possession at times in the period and outshot the Panthers 10-4.

But Downey all but sealed it when she poked the puck in during a scramble in front of the Plattsburgh net late in the period. The Cardinals pulled goaltender Sydney Aveson, and Middlebury just missed the open net with a little under two minutes left. Then Maggie Woodward connected with seven seconds on the clock.

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