PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State jumped in front early Friday, as it often has this season, and this time the Cardinals were happy with the way they played once they had the lead.
Plattsburgh scored twice in the first 9:43 of the game and held Wisconsin-Superior at bay the rest of the way for a 4-1 victory in the first round of the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout. The Cardinals will meet Middlebury in the annual men’s hockey tournament’s championship game today at the Stafford Ice Arena.
No. 3 Plattsburgh (7-0-1) has sometimes had lapses after taking the lead, but coach Bob Emery said his team was more consistent Friday.
“I think we played a pretty smart 60 minutes for the most part,” Emery said. “I think we were a little opportunistic early in the game, but I think we played smart with the lead and we did a good job chipping pucks out and getting pucks in deep when we had that lead.”
No. 15 Middlebury reached the final by winning a shootout against Norwich. Plattsburgh will be in the championship game for the first time since 2010 and is seeking its fourth PrimeLink title.
“It’s good to finally get back to the championship game here,” Plattsburgh junior Alex Brenton said. “It’s always a hard tournament. All these teams that come here are very tough. We just gotta come (today), play our A game, and we should be fine.”
Michael Cassidy scored from Brenton to put Plattsburgh ahead 6:31 into the game, and then Brenton made it 2-0 a few minutes later. Wisconsin-Superior’s Anton Svensson pulled his team back within a goal at 12:57.
Dillan Fox slid in a shot 1:10 into the second to push Plattsburgh’s lead to two again.
The Cardinals have been working on improving their play in the defensive end.
“We played a solid game front to back,” Brenton said. “Chewy (Mathieu Cadieux) stood on his head; he made a couple big saves. We were blocking shots as forwards. Our defense were making some nice, solid defensive plays as well, and we put a couple pucks in the back of the net and won the game.”
Alex Jensen added an empty-net goal for Plattsburgh. Cadieux made 19 saves, and Wisconsin-Superior’s Drew Strandberg made 24.
While the Yellowjackets (3-5) couldn’t get any closer in the last two periods, Emery said they pushed the Cardinals.
“We haven’t been challenged like that all year long,” Emery said. “They’re a good team. We were very fortunate in the end. They were coming, they were coming, they were coming — forechecking like heck on us in the third period.”
In the day’s first game, Michael Longo poked a loose puck past a screened Matic Marinsek to put Middlebury (3-0-2) ahead in the second period, but Norwich’s William Pelletier tied it before the end of the period with a power-play goal. With no goals in the third period or the five-minute overtime, the game went to a three-round shootout. Louis Belisle and Jake Charles found the net on Middlebury’s first two shots, and goalie Mike Peters stopped two Norwich (5-0-2) shooters to send the Panthers to the championship game.
Peters made 25 saves, and Marinsek had 23.
Middlebury 1, Norwich 1 (OT)
Middlebury wins shootout 2-0
Middlebury 0 1 0 0 — 0
Norwich 0 1 0 0 — 0
First period- Penalties: Niezgoda, Nor (hooking), 7:20. Hale, Nor (cross-checking), 9:08. Second period- 1, Mid, Longo (Neugold, Donahoe), 8:32 (pp). 2, Nor, Pelletier (Hale, Smith), 16:13. Penalties: McEleney, Nor (tripping), 6:47. Romoff, Mid (contact to the head), 10:20. Pimentel, Mid (tripping), 14:54. Third period- Penalties: Norwich (delay of game), 0:00. Charles, Mid (tripping), 2:41.
Shots on goal:
Middlebury 8 7 4 5 — 24
Norwich 10 6 9 1 — 26
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Peters, Mid, 26-25. Marinsek, Nor, 24-23.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Middlebury 1-3, Norwich 1-3.
Plattsburgh 4, Wisconsin-Superior 1
Wisconsin-Superior 1 0 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 2 1 1 — 4
First period- 1, PSU, Cassidy (Brenton), 6:31. 2, PSU, Brenton (Radisa, Calabrese), 9:43. 3, UWS, Svensson (P. Dalbec), 12:57. Penalties: Forsythe, UWS (interference), 4:00. Mason, PSU (hooking), 16:15.
Second period- 1, PSU, Fox (Constantine), 1:10 (pp). Penalties: D. Dalbec, UWS (cross-checking), 0:36. Popp, PSU (boarding), 4:08. Rey, UWS (boarding), 9:22. Audette, UWS (hooking), 12:10.
Third period- 4, PSU, A. Jensen (Baleshta), 19:14 (en). Penalties: Shand, UWS (roughing), 9:27. Beadow, PSU (hitting from behind), 16:57.
Shots on goal:
Wisconsin-Superior 8 6 6 — 20
Plattsburgh 10 12 8 — 28
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Strandberg, UWS, 28-24. Cadieux, PSU, 20-19.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Wisconsin-Superior 0-3, Plattsburgh 1-5.
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