The PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout annually serves as a chance for Plattsburgh State to test itself against some of the best teams in Division III men’s hockey, but this year the tournament is also a chance for a little bit of redemption.
The Cardinals were upset by Geneseo last weekend before salvaging a split with a win over Brockport. They face No. 12 Middlebury in the first game today at Norwich’s Kreitzberg Arena.
“I think we’re looking to redeem ourselves after the loss last week and make sure we’re working hard,” Plattsburgh defenseman Mike Grace said.
No. 2 Norwich hosts No. 11 St. Thomas in the second game tonight. The consolation game is Saturday afternoon, followed by the championship tilt.
Plattsburgh had developed a habit of getting off to slow starts in games, and Grace said that caught up to them against Geneseo, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead and eventually won 3-2.
“We were getting away with stuff in the first period, not having to work hard,” Grace said. “It finally showed that we gotta work hard, and talent isn’t going to take us all the way.”
No. 5 Plattsburgh (5-1) and Middlebury both feature young players. While four of the Cardinals’ top five scorers are freshmen or sophomores, the Panthers have four freshmen at the top of their scoring list. Forward Matt Silcoff paces Middlebury with a goal and two assists in two games.
Junior Nick BonDurant has handled the Panthers’ goaltending duties, and he sports a 2.88 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
“Middlebury’s a good hockey team,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “We’ve heard they have a great freshman class. It will be a good test for us. We’re young, too.
“And I know some of the kids they brought in; they’re pretty good. They’re going to look to be a skating team, move the puck and be gritty around the net.”