By COURTNEY LEWIS Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Geneseo upset Plattsburgh State last year, and the Cardinals haven’t forgotten about it.
Plattsburgh hosts the Knights for a SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey game tonight and then meets Brockport on Saturday.
The Knights scored in the final minute to defeat Plattsburgh in Geneseo last season, and while Plattsburgh beat them in the second meeting of the season, the loss still hurt.
“I guess you could say them beating us kind of put a damper on our whole NCAA tournament. We didn’t get in … and that could’ve been one of the main components,” Plattsburgh junior Mark Constantine said. “If we won that game, we might have got the vote and been in the NCAAs.
“So there’s a little redemption, and we’d like to get both games with them — definitely this one.”
Geneseo began the SUNYAC season last week with a pair of wins over Morrisville, outscoring the Mustangs 12-4. Freshman Stephen Collins had three goals and two assists on the weekend, while Justin Scharfe handed out four helpers and Ryan Stanimir and Tyler Brickler both scored twice.
“Genseo is always a team that scores a lot of goals,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “But we want to be a team that focuses on defense first and lets our offense be gravy. And I think that’s our focus going into the weekend.
“Last year they had a real good power play and were able to score a lot of goals, so we gotta keep them off the board.”
Brockport has played two nonconference games so far, falling to Utica and Nazareth. The Golden Eagles open SUNYAC play today at Potsdam.
The Cardinals, who are ranked fourth in the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll, beat Potsdam 3-0 last week, and Emery said it was about what you’d expect from a season opener.
“We’re just basically trying to chip the rust off,” he said. “I think we played like a team that played their first game of the year. The thing is we made a lot of mistakes, but the fact is that’s the best way to learn — from mistakes. Hopefully we don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.”
Constantine said that in addition to defense, Plattsburgh worked on creating more scoring chances this week.
The Cardinals were picked first in the conference’s preseason poll, and Constantine said they have enough talent to be considered the frontrunners.
“If we play the way we’re capable of, yeah for sure,” he said. “We have a strong team. A lot of strong guys came back, good goaltending. And good freshmen. The lineup’s strong; anyone can play no matter what night it is.
“So if we play our game and we play right, we can definitely win it all. But it all comes down to how we play.”
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