By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State began the second part of the men’s hockey season on a good note Friday, getting past Wesleyan and into the Cardinal Classic championship game.
Plattsburgh took an early lead and had a three-goal third period in its 5-1 win at Stafford Ice Arena.
“I thought we did a lot of good things (Friday),” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “I thought we played more physical. I thought we did a better job on the forecheck.”
Amherst beat Elmira 5-1 in the opener. Plattsburgh will face Amherst in the championship game tonight, after Wesleyan and Elmira meet in the consolation contest.
Plattsburgh (8-3-1) and Wesleyan (4-4-1) were both playing their first game in three weeks, and Plattsburgh’s Dillan Fox said it took a few shifts to get acclimated.
Kevin Emmerling put No. 8 Plattsburgh ahead late in the first when he sped in on the right side and released a low shot that beat goaltender Glenn Stowell. Emmerling, a freshman forward, is now tied for the team lead with six goals.
Fox, another freshman, notched his first collegiate goal 6:18 into the second to make it 2-0.
“Playing junior and then coming here, it’s always a different type of game, and you’re used to scoring a lot more,” Fox said. “But it felt good to get the first one, and hopefully it keeps going.”
A Wesleyan shot hit a post with just over three minutes left in the period, and then one found the net just before the clock expired. Plattsburgh goalie Mathieu Cadieux went down during a scramble in front of the crease, and Keith Buehler brought the puck into the right circle, turned and fired a high shot with one second left.
“Coming in the locker room at the end of the second period was kind of disheartening because we gave up that late goal, but I thought we played a great period,” Emery said. “We had a lot of good looks in the offensive zone. And to come out of there giving up that late goal was tough to swallow. But we just tried to build in that third period off the good in the second.”
It didn’t take long for Plattsburgh to get the momentum back. Freshman Andrew Smith also netted his first career goal, restoring his team’s two-goal cushion just 19 seconds into the third.
In the middle of the period, Luke Baleshta dished to Jared Docking on the right doorstep, and Docking tapped it in for a power-play goal. Nick Jensen scored with 2:24 left. He finished the game with two points.
Cadieux made 24 saves for the win, and Stowell finished with 29 stops.
In the first game, Topher Flanagan had a goal and an assist to lead Amherst (6-3-1) to a win. The 11th-ranked Lord Jeffs took a 2-0 lead before Elmira (5-7) got on the board in the middle of the first, and they added three unanswered goals over the next two periods. Dave Cunningham made 31 saves to earn the victory.
Amherst and Plattsburgh last met in the 2012 NCAA tournament, with the host Lord Jeffs winning 3-1 to advance to the final four.
“We’ve got an unbelievable opportunity to play Amherst in our own rink,” Emery said. “They’re a great hockey team. They have a lot of players back from the team that went to the final four last year. A lot of guys in our locker room played against them, so a lot of our guys are looking forward to playing them.”
Plattsburgh 5, Wesleyan 1
Wesleyan 0 1 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 1 1 3 — 5
First period- 1, PSU, Emmerling (A. Jensen), 17:33. Penalties: Emerling, PSU (hooking), 6:58. Improta, Wes (holding), 14:36.
Second period- 2, PSU, Fox (Grace, Cook), 6:18. 3, Wes, Buehler, 19:59. Penalties: Botting, PSU (boarding), 3:37.
Third period- 4, PSU, Smith (N. Jensen), 0:19. 5, PSU, Docking (Baleshta, Puglisi), 12:42 (pp). 6, PSU, N. Jensen (Smith), 17:36.
Shots on goal:
Wesleyan 8 10 7 — 25
Plattsburgh 10 16 8 — 34
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Stowell, Wes, 34-29. Cadieux, PSU, 26-25.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Wesleyan 0-3, Plattsburgh 1-3.
Amherst 5, Elmira 1
Amherst 2 2 1 — 5
Elmira 1 0 0 — 1
First period- 1, Am, Safstrom (Rowbotham), 7:34. 2, Am, Flanagan (Brunette), 8:50. 3, Elm, Morikawa (Depp), 12:49. Penalties: Collins, Elm (boarding), 15:13.
Second period- 4, Am, Van Siclen (Moher, Brown), 8:02 (pp). 5, Am, Trumble (Hawkrigg, Flanagan), 8:34. Penalties: Burnell, Elm (boarding), 7:44. Safstrom, Am (tripping), 9:58. Kurlandski, Am (tripping), 15:37.
Third period: 6, Am, Merenich, 6:21. Penalties: Sumi, Elm (tripping), 6:21. Merenich, Am (interference), 14:31.
Shots on goal:
Amherst 16 13 10 — 39
Elmira 8 13 11 — 32
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Cunningham, Am, 32-31. Vitale, Am, 0-0. McDonald, Elm, 39-34.
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