PLATTSBURGH — Defense is always the emphasis for the Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team.
But this year there’s an increased focus on the offense.
The Cardinals averaged 3.29 goals per game last season, which put them well down the list in Division III. And in their last 10 games, they scored just 2.3 per night.
Plattsburgh, which returns 18 players to this year’s team, begins the regular season tonight against SUNY Athletic Conference foe Morrisville at Stafford Ice Arena. The Cardinals are looking to boost their offensive production this season.
Senior forward Patrick Jobb said they can do that by simply getting more pucks to the net.
“Just shooting the puck. I think a lot of times we pass up opportunities — make that extra play or make the nice pass,” he said. “Just getting pucks on net and having guys being there when it gets there.”
Sophomore Jake Mooney added that they need to be more opportunistic — bury the chances they do get.
Plattsburgh brought in 11 freshmen, and Mooney said a lot of them are “skill guys.”
Coach Bob Emery doesn’t expect the newcomers to make a big impact right away, but he said some of them have the potential to be goal-scorers for the Cardinals.
“Yeah, we don’t have one bad guy in the bunch in the freshman class right on through,” Emery said. “So it’s going to be some tough decisions for the first game.” He added that everyone will likely get in the lineup over the first two games.
Plattsburgh graduated its points leader from last year, Kyle Kudroch, but returns three of its top five scorers.
Emery will be looking to some second-year players in particular for offensive production.
“I just think we have some guys in that sophomore class that we have high expectations for. Alex Jensen, Jake Mooney and Mark Constantine,” he said. “Those three guys we brought in for the same reason — to put some points on the board.