---- — BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
PLATTSBURGH — Following a pair of ECAC West shutout victories over Chatham University, the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team looks to extend its current unbeaten streak to five with a win tonight against North Country rival Potsdam.
The Bears (0-2, 0-0) enter the contest with consecutive non-conference losses. The first was a 3-2 overtime loss to Salve Regina, followed by a 6-2 setback at Holy Cross.
“(Potsdam) is a good hockey team and they gave us a real good run last year down at their place,” Plattsburgh State head coach Kevin Houle said. “They finished last season extremely strong, beating Elmira to get to the ECAC West semifinals. They’re well-coached and have solid goaltending, so we’re expecting a tough game for sure.”
Potsdam is led by freshman forwards Rachel Grefke (2-0-2) and Sarah Nelson (1-1-2), while Dawna Salvarinas and Jen Conophy have each split time in net thus far.
“Our coaching staff had the opportunity to watch game tape from last year, but we’re certainly expecting the unexpected,” Houle said. “We’ll be ready for anything they throw at us, but our goal is to come out and play our style, trying to take the game to them, and let them worry about us.”
The Cardinals (3-0-1, 2-0), who were awarded the No. 2 ranking in Monday’s Division III poll conducted by United States College Hockey Online (USCHO), rank second in the country with a 0.75 goals-against average.
“I expect us to play hard in our own end and limit Potsdam’s opportunities,” Houle said. “Fortunately, we have an excellent goaltender in Sydney Aveson. She’s been able to make the big saves for us this season when need be.”
Plattsburgh State was able to find its scoring touch with 15 goals in the last two contests, including an 81-shot performance Sunday that resulted in the third highest shot total in program history.
The Cardinals look to Teal Gove (4-3-7) and Jenny Kistner (4-2-6) for point production, while Aveson returns between the pipes for the first time since an Oct. 28 tie versus No. 1 Norwich.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Plattsburgh State Field House.