BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Despite a 4-1 win over Williams Wednesday and a record that remains unscathed, Plattsburgh State women’s hockey coach Kevin Houle was displeased with his team’s inconsistency.
The first-ranked Cardinals (14-0-1), who received a three-point night from senior captain Teal Gove on Wednesday, improved to 7-0-1 in nonconference play on the year.
“It’s been three games now where we haven’t played the way we’re capable of playing, and I can’t put my finger on it right now,” Houle said. “I’m not going to sit here and say ‘Well, we’ve been overlooking teams and waiting for Elmira’ because that’s just not the case.
“We’re in a little bit of a lull, and we need to come out of it. We’re just not firing on all cylinders, and there are times we’re not firing on any cylinders. It’s been a frustrating couple of games. We need to fix some things.”
Connecticut transfer Ali Vakos opened the game’s scoring for Plattsburgh at 9:39 of the first stanza. Emma Rutherford threw a centering pass from the near-side boards to Vakos, who tipped the puck into the back of the net. The goal was Vakos’ second as a member of the Cardinals.
Then, with 13:22 gone in the middle period, Andrea Ziesmann fired a shot from the blue line that redirected off the blade of Gove’s stick in front, extending the differential to two.
However, a penalty-ridden third period saw Plattsburgh commit multiple turnovers in its own end before surrendering a power-play goal to Ephs forward Michaela Levine at 8:14.
With No. 3 Elmira coming to town for a pair of weekend games and ECAC West supremacy on the line, Houle said his team needs to be more disciplined with the puck and create better scoring opportunities.
“We’ve been turning the puck over more in the last three games than we’ve done all year,” Houle said. “Not to discredit Williams, but I thought the chances they got, we gave to them. A top team like Elmira’s going to take advantage of those opportunities.
“Teams are packing it in on us and we’re not getting to the front of the net, and we’re not getting quality shots from the point. Everything’s being redirected to the corners, and we’re not getting great chances. We’re not creating opportunities for ourselves.”
Shannon Stewart solidified the win by netting a power-play goal with 2:17 remaining in regulation, her sixth marker in the last three games.
Sydney Aveson recorded her 1th victory of the season, fending off 21-of-22 shots faced. Williams goaltender Chloe Billadeau was tagged with the loss, recording 23 saves.
The Ephs (6-7) concluded the night 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Cardinals were 1-for-4.
Plattsburgh now has 48 hours to rest before a monumental weekend slate of games against its conference rival beginning Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Plattsburgh State 4, Williams College 1
Williams 0 0 1 — 1
Plattsburgh 1 1 2 — 4
First period- 1, PSU, Vakos (Rutherford, Favretto), 9:38. Penalties: Bennett, PSU (interference), 11:19.
Second period- 2, PSU, Gove (Ziesmann, MacInnis), 13:22. Penalties: Kistner, PSU (holding), 2:49. Simon, WC (holding), 3:53. Heller, WC (checking), 16:45.
Third period- 3, PSU, Gove, 7:46 (sh). 4, WC, Levine (Goldstein), 8:14 (pp). 5, PSU, Stewart (Kistner, Gove), 17:43 (pp). Penalties: Bennett, PSU (hooking), 1:22. VanGlahn, PSU (body checking), 7:31. Simon, WC (hooking), 9:42. Ziesmann, PSU (slashing), 10:31. Stewart, PSU (tripping), 11:31. Cutts, WC (hooking), 16:27.
Shots on goal:
Williams 6 7 9 — 22
Plattsburgh 8 15 4 — 27
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Billadeau, WC, 27-23. Aveson, PSU, 22-21.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Williams 1-6; Plattsburgh 1-4.