November 30, 2013

Classic features perennial powers

The No. 1 Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team will make its annual appearance in the Panther/Cardinal Classic at Middlebury College this weekend.

The Cardinals will face Amherst College at 4 p.m. today before challenging No. 2 Middlebury in a rematch of last year’s national semifinals at 4 p.m. Sunday.

No. 4 Elmira College, Plattsburgh’s archrival in the ECAC West, will also participate in the Classic.

The four programs have combined to win 10 of the last 12 national championships.

“When you bring together four teams that have reached the national tournament many times, it definitely gives (the Classic) that postseason feel,” Cardinals coach Kevin Houle said. “Obviously, it’s a predetermined tournament with no championship game, but it’s a big deal for our kids and all teams competing. Everybody knows what’s on the line, which is your potential seeding come March.”

Plattsburgh (8-0-0, 5-0-0 ECAC West)

The Cardinals have reeled off eight consecutive wins this season, outscoring their opponents by a 43-0 margin.

Plattsburgh’s scoreless streak stands at 540 minutes and 17 seconds, which dates back to March 15.

Shannon Stewart (eight goals) and Jenny Kistner (seven goals) rank fifth and eighth in the country in goal scoring, respectively.

Sydney Aveson, a senior goaltender from West Covina, Calif., ranks first in save percentage (1.000) and shutouts (6). Aveson is now one shutout from tying Carolyne Roy’s program record of 24.

Amherst (3-0-1, 3-0-1 NESCAC)

The Lord Jeffs collected three victories to open the season before tying Wesleyan University Nov. 23, 0-0.

Erin Martin (1-5-6), Tori Salmon (3-2-5) and Courtney Baranek (2-3-5) lead the team in scoring.

Kerri Stuart, a senior goaltender, will likely start between the pipes for Amherst. Stuart is 3-0-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.

Kistner tallied two goals and two assists, helping Plattsburgh knock off Amherst in last year’s Panther/Cardinal Classic, 8-3.

“Obviously, they’re a perennial power and have always challenged for the NESCAC championship and NCAA bids,” Houle said. “They’re a fast team and forecheck hard. They’re going to give us their best shot. They’re a young team, but they’re talented. We have to be prepared.”

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