PLATTSBURGH — The waiting is over.
Teal Gove’s game-winning goal with 8:47 remaining in regulation helped the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team capture its first ECAC West tournament championship since 2007 with a 4-2 win over Elmira College Sunday afternoon.
With the victory, the No. 1 Cardinals (25-0-2) secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championships, during which they’ll likely host a quarterfinal game Saturday.
The field will be announced today at 10 a.m. during a live selection show on NCAA.com.
“It was six years in the making,” Gove said. “It’s been our goal all season, so to actually do it, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
After Soaring Eagles (21-5-1) forward Olivia Nystrom banged home a loose puck at 4:35 of the second period, Plattsburgh had to battle back from a 2-1 deficit.
Ali Vakos helped the Cardinals respond by redirecting a Caitlin Gilligan point shot into the back of the net with 10.9 seconds remaining, sending the game into a 2-all tie heading into the locker room.
“I think there’s no question it propelled us to the third period,” Cardinals coach Kevin Houle said. “It took the wind out of their sails and certainly put some in ours. Obviously in that second period, Elmira was all over us. They had a lot of opportunities and time in our zone, so we were fortunate to come out with a 2-2 tie at that point.”
No. 4 Elmira finished the second period with a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal, but Gove said Vakos’ goal proved to be the turning point.
“Coming back and getting that tying goal was a momentum shifter, for sure,” Gove said. “Even though we didn’t play the greatest second period, it just changed the atmosphere and so much going into the locker room. We knew if we could play to our potential, we were going to come back and win the game.”