February 16, 2013

Cardinal women prepare for final weekend


---- — PLATTSBURGH — For the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team, two games lie between its chances at an unbeaten regular season and a potential number one seed come conference tournament time.

The No.1-ranked Cardinals (21-0-2, 13-0-1 ECAC West) travel to Aston, Pa., for a weekend slate of games versus Neumann University beginning tonight at 7 p.m. and wrapping up Sunday for 2 p.m.

Plattsburgh needs just one point out of a possible four at stake to clinch the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) West Division regular season title.

Elmira College leads the standings by a point, but has already concluded its conference schedule, while the Cardinals own the season series, 2-0.

“That’s our goal — to have that number one seed,” Plattsburgh coach Kevin Houle said. “Going into the weekend, we’re hoping that’s the end result. Every time we hit the ice, we’re going for the win.”

The Knights (9-13-1, 6-8-0), however, are currently in a tie for fifth with Cortland State in the ECAC West Division with 12 points and are jockeying for home-ice advantage.

Neumann is riding a four-game winning streak, picking up victories over Potsdam State, Stevenson University and Chatham University and outscored its opponents 15-3 during that span.

Edie Brenning (9-10-19) tops the team in scoring, while Angela Gilmour (5-10-15) and Lynsey Nakamura (6-7-13) rank second and third in point production, respectively.

Shannon Donnelly, a senior, is the team’s primary goaltender. The Orleans, Ont., native sports a .923 save percentage to go along with a 2.42 goals against average.

“They have a very good goaltender, and they’re playing well as of late,” Houle said. “They’re playing for their playoff lives. We’re expecting their best effort.”

Plattsburgh owns some of the nation’s top goal scorers. Shannon Stewart ranks third with 20 goals in 23 games played. Senior captain is in a three-way tie for fourth with Katie Batters of Wisconsin-River Falls and Adrian’s Kelsey Kusch with 19 markers.

Netminder Sydney Aveson ranks third in the country with six shutouts, including three since Jan. 25.

“I’m happy with the way we’re playing right now.” Houle said. “That could change from game-to-game. I was pleased with how we played against Potsdam and practiced this past week. We’re hoping to come out with a couple of wins.”