November 16, 2012

Three freshmen finding success on same line

PLATTSBURGH — While Luke Baleshta was giving an interview after practice one day this week, a teammate skated up behind him and poured a bottle of water over his head.

Baleshta may be leading Plattsburgh State in scoring right now, but he doesn’t get a pass from the upperclassmen — he’s still a freshman.

“I don’t think that makes a difference no matter what,” he said of his production. “They’re all pretty good guys, though. It’s all in good fun.”

The Cardinals (4-0, 4-0 SUNYAC) visit Geneseo (3-4-1, 2-1-1) and Brockport (2-4-1, 2-2) for a pair of SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey games this weekend. Baleshta has been playing on a line with fellow freshmen Kevin Emmerling and Connor Gorman so far this season, and the three have had an impact already.

“That freshman line is pretty good,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “They have a skill level that we’re not really used to here at Plattsburgh. And we’re all a work in progress, and I think those guys are only going to get better.”

The coach added that he likes having three newcomers skate together because there’s a little less pressure on them than if they were playing with upperclassmen.

None of the three are particularly big guys — Baleshta is listed at 6 feet, 1 inch and 170 pounds and the other two are under 6 feet — so they all use their speed. They said they play similar styles.

“I think we’re kind of all quick guys. We are young, but we mesh well together,” Emmerling said. “The older guys have been doing a great job leading us and telling us what we have to do. And we’ve kind of just been listening to coach and listening to the whole team, and, just, we’ve been playing good. So we gotta keep it going.”

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