BY RICKY ST. CLAIR Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team has some unfinished business to take care of this season.
The Cardinals return all but one player from last year’s 27-1-2 team that was denied of a national title and finished third in the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championships in Superior, Wisc.
“I hope that’s the attitude we have,” coach Kevin Houle said. “Every year is different and the makeup of every team is different, though. It remains to be seen what our team’s identity will be.”
Houle, who enters his 11th season behind the bench with a 233-39-19 career record, has high hopes for this year’s squad.
The team is ranked No. 1 in the D3Hockey.com preseason poll and No. 2 in the first set of USCHO.com rankings.
“All of the upperclassman coming back maintain a positive attitude,” Houle said. “They understand it’s their last opportunity to bring home the gold, so to speak. But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’d just like to take one game at a time.”
Plattsburgh graduates Teal Gove, who finished her illustrious four-year career with 76 goals and 63 assists. Gove was a recipient of the 2013 Laura Hurd Award, given by the American Hockey Coaches Association to the NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey Player of the Year.
Houle, though, returns a prolific group of scorers that combined for 110 goals in 30 games played. Shannon Stewart (21-18-39), Jenny Kistner (12-22-34), Allison Era (13-16-29), Emma Rutherford (12-14-26) and Chelsea VanGlahn (14-8-22) are the team’s top returning point getters.
“We had a bunch of kids put up eight to 12 goals last season,” Houle said. “Last year, they put up good numbers and gave us good balance. That’s going to have to be key this year. We’re going to need contributions from a lot of different people.”
Era, Mia Favretto, Alyssa Parke, Caitlin Gilligan, Bridget Balisy and Sara Lanni along with freshmen Maggie Kolcon, Julia Duquette and Mel Ames will anchor the blue line.
The Cardinals, with a relatively inexperienced defensive corps, surrendered just 33 goals a season ago.
“I would certainly like to think that after a year of experience, we’d be better back there,” Houle said. “Hopefully, we have competition at that spot in practice. It’s brings out the best in our players.”
Sydney Aveson returns between the pipes for her senior go-around. Aveson, a native of West Covina, Calif., is 47-7-4 with a .933 save percentage and 1.38 goals-against average in 60 games played.
“She’s a great goalie,” Houle said. “She’s been very consistent over the last three years and predominately the last two years. Some would consider her one of the best in the country. She’s been the backbone of our team.
“She gives us an opportunity to win, and she’s been a big part of our team’s success. We know what kind of effort we’ll get from her every night.”
Aveson will be backed in net by Ally Ross and freshman Cami Leonard.
Seven freshmen makeup the roster, including three forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender.
Houle called it a “solid group.”
“I wouldn’t say there are any standouts at this point in time,” Houle said. “I don’t like to single out players anyway. But I hope they can fill some holes in our lineup and make contributions. We’re looking for all of our freshmen, including our returning players, to step up. It’s a good group, and they’re going to earn their playing time.”
Houle also welcomes Norwich University junior transfer Tyne Gove, the younger sister of Teal Gove.
A Berwick, Ont., native, Tyne Gove registered 20 goals and 31 assists with the Cadets during a two-year span.
“She’s transitioned well,” Houle said. “But time is going to tell in terms of games and that kind of thing. Certainly, the jury’s out. We’re glad to have her.”
Houle named Jordan Caldwell and VanGlahn captains for the 2013-14 season, while Era and Favretto will serve as assistant captains.
Plattsburgh opens with a difficult road schedule, highlighted by the East/West Hockey Classic at Norwich University today and tomorrow. The Cardinals open with nationally-ranked Norwich and Manhattanville.
“Last year, we went 1-0-1 and our opening weekend went well,” Houle said. “But that can certainly go the other way. Everyone is in the same boat. The schedule kind of throws you into the fire, so we’ll need to be prepared. Norwich and Manhattanville are always great, strong teams. We need to be at our best.”Plattsburgh State Women's Hockey Roster Number, Player, Position, Grade, Hometown. 2 Jordon Lipson F Fr Davis, California 3 Mia Favretto D Jr Oakville, Ontario 4 Alyssa Parke D Jr Lynbrook, New York 5 Maggie Kolcon D Fr Pittsford, New York 6 Breanne Bennett F So Brantford, Ontario 8 Jenny Kistner F Sr Peoria, Illinois 9 Allison Era D Sr Glendale, Arizona 10 Katelyn Turk F Fr Mississauga, Ontario 11 Tyne Gove F Jr Berwick, Ontario 12 Lizzie Aveson F Fr West Covina, California 13 Morgan MacInnis F Jr Cornwall, Ontario 15 Chelsea VanGlahn F Sr Point Pleasant, New Jersey 17 Julia Duquette D Fr North Tonawanda, New York 18 Shannon Stewart F Jr Pickering, Ontario 19 Caitlin Gilligan D So Burlington, Ontario 20 Giovanna Senese F So Huntley, Illinois 21 Bridget Balisy D So Brampton, Ontario 22 Andrea Ziesmann F So Oakville, Ontario 24 Mel Ames D Fr Rochester, New York 25 Sara Lanni D So Maple, Ontario 26 Emma Rutherford F Jr Ottawa, Ontario 27 Jordan Caldwell F Sr Arvada, Colorado 31 Cami Leonard G Fr Oakville, Ontario 32 Ally Ross G Jr Red Lion, Pennsylvania 33 Sydney Aveson G Sr West Covina, California 77 Ali Vakos F Sr Hamden, Connecticut Schedule Saturday, Nov. 2 at Norwich, 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 vs. Manhattanville, 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5 at Potsdam, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 CASTLETON, 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 BUFFALO STATE, 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17 BUFFALO STATE, 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 NEUMANN, 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24 NEUMANN, 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 vs. Amherst, 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1 at Middlebury, 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5 NORWICH, 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 MANHATTANVILLE, 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Williams, 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 CORTLAND, 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 CORTLAND, 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 at Utica, 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Utica, 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 POTSDAM, 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7 at Elmira, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 at Elmira, 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 MIDDLEBURY, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at Chatham, 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16 at Chatham, 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 at Oswego, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at Oswego, 3 p.m. *Caps indicate home game.