BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — It certainly wasn’t the start Plattsburgh State women’s hockey coach Kevin Houle was looking for.
The Cardinals (4-0-1, 3-0) concluded the first 20 minutes down a score but were able to fire eight unanswered goals in an 8-1 rout of Potsdam Tuesday night at Stafford Ice Arena.
“I thought we played pretty well, but defensively we were giving up the puck (in the first period),” Houle said. “Four or five times we flat-out gave it to them. We needed to settle down, play with some poise and make (Potsdam) earn opportunities.”
Emma Rutherford notched her first marker of the season by burying a loose puck in the slot with three minutes gone in the middle stanza.
Then the floodgates opened.
Jordan Caldwell scored the eventual game-winning goal on a backhand shot just outside the crease 46 seconds later. Teal Gove and Caitlin Gilligan also added to the second-period scoring barrage.
“In between periods, we just kind of regrouped and acknowledged that we got all of the nerves out,” Gove said. “We opened the second period with more emphasis on playing our brand of hockey, and all (of the intensity) just seemed to pick up after that.”
Rutherford capitalized on a wrap-around opportunity at 4:49 of the third period before Gove lifted a backhand chance into the back of the net 56 seconds later. Each finished the contest with a pair of goals, respectively.
Breanne Bennett tallied her second marker of the regular season at 10:43 before Melissa McIver capped the scoring by floating a shot past Potsdam (0-3, 0-1) goaltender Jen Conophy with three seconds remaining in the game.
Plattsburgh State’s early deficit was the second such occurrence through its first five games.
“You never want to start off down (a goal), but our ability to battle back shows that we’re resilient,” Gove said. “(Tuesday’s) game demonstrates that we have the potentially to grind it out if need be.”
After three games in the last four nights, the Cardinals begin a 10-day layoff before hosting Bowdoin Nov. 17 in a nonconference matchup.
“(Today), it will be nice to have a day off,” Caldwell said. “I think everybody’s a little bit tired. Also, a shorter practice Thursday will allow us to recuperate before a stretch of tough games later this month and in early December.”
Plattsburgh State 8, Potsdam 1
Potsdam 1 0 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 0 4 4 — 8
First period- 1, Pots, Ashley (Cunningham, Domanski), 13:33. Penalties: Domanski, Pots, (hooking), 9:45. Caldwell, PSU, (hooking), 17:18.
Second period- 2, PSU, Rutherford (Kistner), 3:00. 3, PSU, Caldwell (Kistner, Era), 3:46. 4, PSU, Gove, 6:17. 5, PSU, Gilligan (Gove, Menzak), 12:24.
Third period- 6, PSU, Rutherford (McIver, Kistner), 4:49. 7, PSU, Gove (MacInnis, Gilligan), 5:45. 8, PSU, Bennett (Rutherford), 10:44. 9, PSU, McIver (Menzak), 19:57. Penalties: VanGlahn, PSU, (holding), 16:34.
Shots on goal:
Potsdam 8 9 3 — 20
Plattsburgh 13 16 11 — 40
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Conophy, Pots, 40-32. Aveson, PSU, 20-19.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Potsdam 0-2; Plattsburgh 0-1.