BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — For the fourth time in six games, the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team failed to garner a goal in the opening period of play.
But a stronger, offensive-minded three-goal surge in the middle stanza proved to be the difference in a 4-1 Cardinals (5-0-1, 3-0) victory over Bowdoin Saturday.
“After the first period, if you told me that we would’ve won that game 4-1, I’m not sure I’d believe you,” Plattsburgh State head coach Kevin Houle said. “I don’t think we played particularly well in the first (period) and were a little out of sorts. Even though we had some quality chances, we gave up some quality opportunities and really, I thought we were playing on our heels.
“But we came out and played a lot better, controlling the play. We had some good opportunities in transition and we were able to finish on a couple. We gave up less in the second and certainly took advantage of some really good chances.”
Allison Era, who was moved from defensemen to forward with an injured Jenny Kistner out of the lineup, opened the game’s scoring at 1:06. Era executed a toe drag at the top of the faceoff dot and lifted the puck over the blocker of Polar Bears’ (0-1, 0-0) goaltender Tara Connolly.
“I was originally recruited out of junior hockey as a forward, so I was comfortable centering that line (Saturday),” Era said. “I was able get past the defender with a finesse move and get a shot off. It was huge goal in the game because after that one went in, our team got on a roll.”
“We needed (Era) up front, someone who could play center and she’s capable of fulfilling that role,” Houle said. “Our defense did a good job playing without her.”
Shannon Stewart tallied the eventual game-winning goal and her fourth of the year just 1:56 later by banging home a rebound chance in front.
Then, Melissa McIver concluded the period’s scoring barrage by beating a Polar Bears defender around the edge, switching from backhand to forehand and wristing the puck top-shelf, extending the lead to three.
“Coach (Houle) always talks about utilizing our speed and that was key on my goal,” McIver said. “I carried a lot of momentum on the rush and circled in front. Fortunately, I regained possession just outside the crease and put (the puck) in.”
Following a Bowdoin marker from Jay Greene on a blast from the point, Allison Parke put the icing on the cake at 8:04 of the third period, netting a power play goal. Andrea Ziesmann found Parke on a one-time feed and the Lynbrook native ripped the shot top-shelf.
A majority of Plattsburgh State’s scoring chances came on odd-man rush chances and smooth transition play throughout.
“With the way (Bowdoin) played, getting the puck in the neutral zone and getting it to their center coming through, I was hoping we would get some (odd-man rush) opportunities,” Houle said. “We were happy with the transition game, for sure.”
It’s likely the Cardinals will collect the No. 1 ranking in Monday’s upcoming United State College Hockey Online (USCHO) poll. Previously undefeated Norwich dropped a 4-3 overtime setback to St. Anselm Saturday, halting a 44-game ECAC East unbeaten streak.
Plattsburgh State now travels to Chip Kenyon Arena on the campus of Middlebury College for the annual Cardinal-Panther Classic. The Cardinals take on No. 6 Amherst Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. and longtime rival Middlebury a week from today.¬
“This upcoming week of practice is going to be big,” Houle said. “(Amherst) is a good team year in and year out and will probably play a similar style to what we saw (Saturday) in terms of speed and aggressiveness. This game was a good tune up (for next weekend).”
Plattsburgh State 4, Bowdoin 1
Bowdoin 0 1 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 0 3 1 — 4
First period- Penalties: Tang, B (tripping), 8:47. Parke, PSU (cross-checking), 17:46.
Second period- 1, PSU, Era, 1:06. 2, PSU, Stewart (Bennett, McIver), 3:02. 3, PSU, McIver (Parke), 11:25. 4, B, Greene (Novak, Bourque), 14:44 (pp). Penalties: Novak, B (body checking), 9:14. MacInnis, PSU (body checking), 13:09.
Third period- 5, PSU, Parke (Ziesmann, Rutherford), 8:04 (pp). Penalties: Allen, B (body checking), 6:34. VanGlahn, PSU (high-sticking), 9:13.
Shots on goal:
Bowdoin 8 5 6 — 19
Plattsburgh 14 15 17 — 36
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Connolly, B, 36-32. Aveson , PSU, 19-18.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Bowdoin 1-3; Plattsburgh 1-3.