PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team has some unfinished business to take care of this season.
The Cardinals return all but one player from last year’s 27-1-2 team that was denied of a national title and finished third in the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championships in Superior, Wisc.
“I hope that’s the attitude we have,” coach Kevin Houle said. “Every year is different and the makeup of every team is different, though. It remains to be seen what our team’s identity will be.”
Houle, who enters his 11th season behind the bench with a 233-39-19 career record, has high hopes for this year’s squad.
The team is ranked No. 1 in the D3Hockey.com preseason poll and No. 2 in the first set of USCHO.com rankings.
“All of the upperclassman coming back maintain a positive attitude,” Houle said. “They understand it’s their last opportunity to bring home the gold, so to speak. But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’d just like to take one game at a time.”
Plattsburgh graduates Teal Gove, who finished her illustrious four-year career with 76 goals and 63 assists. Gove was a recipient of the 2013 Laura Hurd Award, given by the American Hockey Coaches Association to the NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey Player of the Year.
Houle, though, returns a prolific group of scorers that combined for 110 goals in 30 games played. Shannon Stewart (21-18-39), Jenny Kistner (12-22-34), Allison Era (13-16-29), Emma Rutherford (12-14-26) and Chelsea VanGlahn (14-8-22) are the team’s top returning point getters.
“We had a bunch of kids put up eight to 12 goals last season,” Houle said. “Last year, they put up good numbers and gave us good balance. That’s going to have to be key this year. We’re going to need contributions from a lot of different people.”