This weekend the Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team plays what forward Mark Constantine calls “one of the biggest games of the year.”
But not until Saturday.
First the Cardinals visit Cortland tonight, and then they’ll meet archrival Oswego, trying to keep the Lakers out of their minds until Saturday.
“It’s hard to do obviously because it’s Oswego. But just gotta have it in your mind-set that we have to win the first game first,” Constantine said. “Even if we do beat Oswego and we lose to Cortland, it’s a bad weekend. It’s not a winning weekend.”
Plattsburgh (6-2, 5-1 SUNYAC), ranked seventh, lost its Friday game the last two weeks, so it will start the weekend by trying to stop that trend.
Cortland (2-6-1, 2-4) lost to and tied with Neumann in a nonconference series last week. The Red Dragons’ SUNY Athletic Conference wins came against Morrisville and Fredonia. They put up four goals against Oswego in October, losing 7-4.
“I hope we have the leadership going into Cortland (tonight) because a lot of people think it’s a trap game,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “Cortland’s been in every game they’ve played, and we’re not doing ourselves any justice as a player, as a coach, as a team, as a hockey program if we’re overlooking Cortland. Because they’re well coached, and they’re going to be well prepared.”
Oswego (7-0, 6-0) is ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll, and it’s also first in the SUNYAC standings, a game ahead of Plattsburgh. The Lakers feature the top two scorers in Division III, Paul Rodrigues (7-13-20) and Luke Moodie (9-10-19).
As a team, they average 6.43 goals per game, which is tied for most in the country. Constantine said the strategy for facing such a high-scoring team is simple.