MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — The Plattsburgh State Cardinals returned to their winning — and whitewashing — ways Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over arch-rival Middlebury College in the 9th-Annual Panther/Cardinal Classic.
The top-ranked Cardinals, who gave up their first goal of the season Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Amherst College, improved to 9-0-1 with their ninth shutout of the campaign. The triumph also offered the Cardinals a measure of revenge for a 4-1 loss to Middlebury in the NCAA Div. III Women’s Hockey Semifinals last March. It was the Cardinals’ only setback during the 2012-13 season.
Plattsburgh Coach Kevin Houle said the rematch with Middlebury may have been on the Cardinals’ minds Saturday in the skirmish with Amherst.
“As much as we told the girls that Amherst is a really good team, everyone was still looking forward to playing Middlebury, especially after last year,” Houle acknowledged.
“Give Amherst a lot of credit, though. They’re a good team and they played us tough.
“It’s not that we played bad; Amherst had a hot goalie.
“We hadn’t played from behind all year and it was good to see the girls come back like that.”
Still, Houle was looking to see a little more spring in the Cardinals’ step Sunday against Middlebury.
“We needed to play with more emotion, with more energy today,” Houle said. “We were a little flat on Saturday and we wanted to make sure we were first on the puck today. We did a good job in the first to set the tone, but I was a little bit concerned about staying the course the rest of the game.”
The Cardinals carried the play for the first 20 minutes, but found themselves playing a man down 1:15 into the second when Allison Era was sent off for tripping.
The Panthers nearly took the lead but Hannah Bielawski’s shot was saved by Plattsburgh State’s Sydney Aveson before Katie Sullivan was denied on a rebound attempt.
“I was a little concerned because their (Middlebury’s) power play is pretty good,” Houle related. “But I thought we did a nice job all night killing off 3 power plays.”
Giovanna Senese, who scored both Cardinal goals, connected at 6:43 of the second from Chelsea VanGlahn and Ali Vakos.
VanGlahn sent a backhander toward the goal from the high slot that was partially saved by Panther goaltender Madeline Marsh. The rebound sat near the goal line as Senese poked it in for her third of the year.
“Senese is a real sparkplug. She’s only 5 feet tall, but plays a lot bigger than that,” Houle related. “She’s great on those second and third opportunities — those are the kind of goals you like to score, you need to score.”
Middlebury looked to tie the game on the power play midway through the period, but Madeline Joyce was denied by a big glove save from Aveson.
“Aveson probably made two of the best saves you’re going to see. Both we’re on Middlebury power plays — one was a pad save and the other a glove save at point-blank range,” Houle recalled.
Plattsburgh put on some pressure at the 16:35 mark, but Marsh denied good looks from Jenny Kistner and Jordan Lipson. Less than a minute later, Era hit the crossbar with a blast from the high slot. The Cardinals closed the period on a power play, but Marsh kept it a 1-0 game. Middlebury outshot Plattsburgh 10-6 in the second session.
The Cardinals made it a 2-0 game midway through the third period with Senese’s second. Era found VanGlahn on the left side, who quickly centered a pass to Senese for the one-timer in the slot.
Middlebury’s best chance to score with under five minutes remaining was thwarted by another glove save from Aveson, this time robbing Sullivan.
The shots were even in the game at 21, with Marsh making 19 stops for the Panthers. Aveson recorded 21 saves on the day to earn her seventh shutout of the season. Aveson finished the weekend with 40 combined save to take home tournament most valuable player honors.
Aveson was joined by Senese and Era on the Panther/Cardinal Classic All-Tournament Team. Katie Sullivan and Carly Watson of Middlebury also received All-Tournament nods while Hayley Opperman represented Amherst. Elmira’s Brooke Wilgosh and Tanis Lamoureux were also recognized.
After a successful first semester, Plattsburgh State now begins a month-long hiatus for winter break. The Cardinals return to action on Sunday, Jan. 5 against the Norwich Cadets at the Stafford Ice Arena. Game time is set for 3 p.m.
“It’s a little bit longer layoff than we would like,” Houle said. “We’ll practice this week and then get back together Jan. 31.”
Plattsburgh 2, Middlebury 0
Score by periods:
Plattsburgh 0 1 1 — 2
Middlebury 0 0 0 — 0
Second period- 1, PSU, Senese (VanGlahn, Vakos), 6:43.
Third period- 2, PSU, Senese (VanGlahn, Era), 8:55.
Shots on goal:
Plattsburgh 11 6 4 — 21
Middlebury 5 10 6 — 21
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Aveson, PSU, 21-21. Marsh, Midd, 21-19.
Power plays (goals-opportunity): Plattsburgh, 0-2. Middlebury, 0-3.