PLATTSBURGH — After being uncharacteristically generous to start the second semester, the Cardinals were back to their usual stingy selves Saturday.
Plattsburgh State allowed just one goal and Alex Jensen recorded a hat trick in a 6-1 nonconference men’s hockey victory against Castleton State. The game marked the return of Steve Moffat, a longtime Plattsburgh assistant who made his first visit to Stafford Ice Arena as an opposing head coach.
Plattsburgh (12-1-2) gave up eight goals in its previous three games but played better in the defensive zone Saturday.
“We really stressed (Saturday) we were going to try to win the game 1-0 if we had to,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “And we weren’t quite there, but we kept our opponent to one.
“I just thought the players were more self-responsible of pucks in our own end.”
The third-ranked Cardinals have a rare midweek game coming up next; they’ll visit Norwich on Tuesday.
Plattsburgh’s Michael Radisa tied Saturday’s game with a wrist shot from the left circle early in the second period, and then the Cardinals pulled ahead due to a bit of a lucky break. Jensen raced in on a short-handed chance, and when Castleton goalie Mark Hochman came out to challenge him, both went sprawling to the ice. The puck kept going — straight into the open net.
“I think that was the turning point of the game,” Moffat said.
Indeed, it didn’t take Plattsburgh long to build a cushion. The Spartans almost killed off a 5-on-3 in the middle of the period, but Graham Yeo tallied his first collegiate goal 26 seconds before the penalties expired. Shortly afterward, Jensen netted his second of the game.
Michael Cassidy made it 5-1 in the third, and Jensen completed the hat trick in the final minute with the help of a nice pass from his brother Nick. The elder Jensen also assisted on Alex’s first goal.
After getting a night off Friday, Mathieu Cadieux earned the win by making 23 saves.
Sloppiness in their own end cost the Cardinals last Saturday against Hobart, and they didn’t want that to happen again.
“It was just we played with a little bit more passion, I guess,” Dillan Fox said. “We didn’t want to lose. That first loss kind of hurt. So it started in our back end, and we were able to just bring it up from there.”
Charles Bando had the Spartans’ (8-7-1) goal on a power play in the first period. Hochman finished with 37 stops.
Castleton’s first-year coach acknowledged it was strange to be with the visiting team after playing for and then coaching the Cardinals.
“I don’t think I’d be human if I came in here and didn’t think it’d be weird,” Moffat said. “It certainly was different making a right onto the bench instead of a left.” He added that he was touched by a video tribute Plattsburgh played before the game.
“Steve’s like a brother to me, and to see him get a head coaching job that he really wanted so bad, I’m proud … of him,” Emery said. “It’s one of those games where you still want to win, but you’re happy he’s got that program up and going. He’s going to take great strides there at Castleton.”
Plattsburgh 6, Castleton 1
Castleton 1 0 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 0 4 2 —6
First period- 1, CS, Bando (Stachiw), 17:58 (pp). Penalties: Murray, CS (interference), 3:25. Hall, PSU (tripping), 17:09. Herzog, CS (boarding), 18:49.
Second period- 2, PSU, Radisa (Kaye), 3:42. 3, PSU, A. Jensen (N. Jensen), 7:35 (sh). 4, PSU, Yeo, 11:34 (pp). 5, PSU, A. Jensen (Fox), 13:59. Penalties: Calabrese, PSU (high sticking), 7:08. Delorme, CS (tripping), 10:00. Gaudry, CS (cross-checking), 10:00. Kaye, PSU (hooking), 14:59.
Third period- 6, PSU, Cassidy (Emmerling, Radisa), 6:26. 7, PSU, A.Jensen (N. Jensen), 19:31. Penalties: Fox, PSU (hooking), 8:16. Radisa, PSU (boarding), 17:34. Murray, CS (cross-checking), 18:43.
Shots on goal:
Castleton 7 6 11 —24
Plattsburgh 16 17 10 — 43
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Hochman, CS, 43-37. Cadieux, PSU, 24-23.
Power play (goals-opportunities): Castleton 1-5, Plattsburgh 1-4.
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