PLATTSBURGH — Unbeaten.
An adjective, not to be confused with a “winning streak,” that often defines a team’s number of consecutive games played without a loss.
For the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team, it’s just one of some 220,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary.
The No. 1-ranked Cardinals (18-0-1, 11-0 ECAC West) put it all on the line tonight at 7 p.m. when fifth-ranked Middlebury College travels across Lake Champlain and invades the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena for their final non-conference game of the 2012-2013 regular season.
“We never talk about it; it’s never been mentioned,” Plattsburgh coach Kevin Houle said. “It just so happens we’re 18-0-1, but it’s not important. Our goal is to play well, get better and have a more consistent effort.”
The last time these two perennial powers met was a 3-2 Plattsburgh win during the second day of the annual Cardinal-Panther Classic Nov. 25 at Chip Kenyon Arena.
Following a Panthers (12-2-2, 9-1-2 NESCAC) comeback to tie the game at 2-all, Emma Rutherford collected the game-winning goal with 8:10 remaining in regulation.
“Anytime you gain a lead, it’s important to hang on to it,” Houle said. “Like the first Middlebury game and second Elmira (College) game…no lead is safe. When you’re playing against good hockey teams with a lot of pride, they’re going to push for a comeback.”
Offensively, Middlebury is led by a trio of sophomore forwards. Hannah Bielawski
(6-13-19), Emily Fluke (10-5-15) and Katie Sullivan (6-9-15) combined for 40 percent of its team’s goals, while attributing five game-winning tallies.
Coach Bill Mandigo has elected to split time in net between goaltenders Annabelle Jones and Laura Pinsent.
Jones, a 5-foot-9-inch sophomore from Homer, N.Y., sports a 4-4-2 record to go a long with a 1.84 goals against average and a .912 save percentage, while Pinsent boats a perfect 6-0-0 mark with a 1.62 goals against average and .922 save percentage.