PLATTSBURGH — After going a month between games, the Cardinals said rust wasn’t really a problem Friday in the first round of the Buck Supply Winter Classic.
But their defensive-zone play was.
Top-ranked Plattsburgh State fell behind unranked Hamilton early in the second period before coming back to win 5-2 at Stafford Ice Arena, spurred by Alex Brenton’s hat trick.
Coach Bob Emery said the Cardinals’ first-semester issues carried over.
“I just think we had the same struggles we’ve had all year. I don’t think we did well in our own end,” he said. “I thought we did a lot of good things on the attack. I think we did a lot of good things on our offensive-zone offense and our cycle. And we got some good looks with that.”
The Cardinals (10-0-2) earned a spot in the men’s hockey tournament’s championship game today against Hobart, which beat Williams 3-2 in overtime Friday afternoon.
Plattsburgh looked like it would take a lead into the first intermission, but Mike DiMare skated in and beat Mathieu Cadieux with 27 seconds left to knot it at 1-1. The Continentals (3-4-1) carried momentum into the second period and pulled ahead at 1:52 when Pat Curtis scored during a 5-on-3 advantage.
“Just mental breakdowns, I think,” Brenton said. “We just gotta be better in the defensive zone and just play better. They just came out flying, and they took it to us.”
Kyle Hall tied it at 7:24. He came in and took a forehand shot, and Hamilton goalie Joe Quattrocchi got a glove on it but slid back into the net. Brenton’s second goal of the night, on a backhander from the slot, put the Cardinals ahead in the middle of the second.
Dillan Fox scored in the third after the Continentals coughed up the puck, and Brenton tallied an empty-netter with 2 seconds left.