BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team resumes its quest for ECAC West home-ice advantage when it challenges SUNY Potsdam at Cheel Arena on the campus of Clarkson University today for 2 p.m.
While Maxcy Hall is undergoing an $8.7 million renovation project, the Bears (8-12-2, 4-8-1 ECAC West) are forced to play their homes games two miles down the road at Clarkson.
The two North Country rivals last met Nov. 6 at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. After Potsdam freshman Kakia Ashley put Potsdam up 1-0 with 13:33 gone in the first period, Plattsburgh responded for eight unanswered goals in an 8-1 win.
“They’re fighting for that last playoff spot in our league, and they’re not going to roll over for us,” Cardinals’ coach Kevin Houle said. “We have to be prepared to a win a close game against a very good hockey team.
“We’ve had a great season so far, but if you let things slip away in the last few games, it’s all for not. Elmira (College) is right there in the standings. We know what’s at stake, and I hope we go out and play that way.”
The No. 1-ranked Cardinals are 20-0-2 overall and hold the nation’s longest unbeaten streak at 22 games. The team ranks third in the country with scoring offense at 4.77 goals per game and third in scoring defense, surrendering 1.09 goals per contest.
Teal Gove (19-17-36), Shannon Stewart (19-14-33) and Jenny Kistner (10-16-26) top the team in point
Goaltender Sydney Aveson is the Cardinals’ primary goaltender between the pipes. The junior from West Covina, Calif., boasts a .929 save percentage to go along with a 1.27 goals against average.
The Bears are led in scoring by a pair of junior forwards. Amanda Lucky (5-8-13) and Jenn Crawford (7-5-12) have combined for 25 points on the year, while Izzy Fayerman ranks third with 11 points on the year.
Dawna Salvarinas and Jen Conophy have split time in net. Salvarinas owns a record of 3-3-0, while Conophy is 1-4-1.
Potsdam is 4-4-1 in homes games this season and is looking to avenge a 4-2 conference loss to Chatham one week ago.
“Their team was battling the flu in that loss to Chatham,” Houle said. “They only had 11 skaters dressed. They were forced to have a defenseman put on the pads and play in net.”
The Cardinals are 9-0-0 in their last nine matchups against Potsdam.
After today’s game, Plattsburgh wraps up its regular season schedule on the road with a weekend slate of contests against Neumann College Feb. 16 and 17.