The No. 1 Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team will make its annual appearance in the Panther/Cardinal Classic at Middlebury College this weekend.
The Cardinals will face Amherst College at 4 p.m. today before challenging No. 2 Middlebury in a rematch of last year’s national semifinals at 4 p.m. Sunday.
No. 4 Elmira College, Plattsburgh’s archrival in the ECAC West, will also participate in the Classic.
The four programs have combined to win 10 of the last 12 national championships.
“When you bring together four teams that have reached the national tournament many times, it definitely gives (the Classic) that postseason feel,” Cardinals coach Kevin Houle said. “Obviously, it’s a predetermined tournament with no championship game, but it’s a big deal for our kids and all teams competing. Everybody knows what’s on the line, which is your potential seeding come March.”
Plattsburgh (8-0-0, 5-0-0 ECAC West)
The Cardinals have reeled off eight consecutive wins this season, outscoring their opponents by a 43-0 margin.
Plattsburgh’s scoreless streak stands at 540 minutes and 17 seconds, which dates back to March 15.
Shannon Stewart (eight goals) and Jenny Kistner (seven goals) rank fifth and eighth in the country in goal scoring, respectively.
Sydney Aveson, a senior goaltender from West Covina, Calif., ranks first in save percentage (1.000) and shutouts (6). Aveson is now one shutout from tying Carolyne Roy’s program record of 24.
Amherst (3-0-1, 3-0-1 NESCAC)
The Lord Jeffs collected three victories to open the season before tying Wesleyan University Nov. 23, 0-0.
Erin Martin (1-5-6), Tori Salmon (3-2-5) and Courtney Baranek (2-3-5) lead the team in scoring.
Kerri Stuart, a senior goaltender, will likely start between the pipes for Amherst. Stuart is 3-0-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .906 save percentage.
Kistner tallied two goals and two assists, helping Plattsburgh knock off Amherst in last year’s Panther/Cardinal Classic, 8-3.
“Obviously, they’re a perennial power and have always challenged for the NESCAC championship and NCAA bids,” Houle said. “They’re a fast team and forecheck hard. They’re going to give us their best shot. They’re a young team, but they’re talented. We have to be prepared.”
Middlebury (4-0-0, 4-0-0 NESCAC)
After starting their season Nov. 15, the second-ranked Panthers have rolled in the early going.
Middlebury outscored Colby College and Trinity College 16-3 during a four-game span.
Katie Sullivan (4-3-7), Emily Fluke (1-4-5) and Hannah Bielawski (1-4-5) are the team’s top point getters.
Junior goaltender Annabelle Jones is 3-0-0 with a 0.99 goals-against average to go along with a .955 save percentage.
Jones stopped 27 of 28 shots faced, helping Middlebury stun Plattsburgh in the NCAA Division III semifinals in Superior, Wis., March 15, 4-1.
“First and foremost, we’re worried about Amherst,” Houle said. “As a coach, you’re never thinking ahead. As a staff, we’re not thinking about Middlebury, but I’m sure it’s in the back of our players’ minds. But I think we have a veteran team that understands we take one game at a time and don’t overlook anybody.”
Elmira (5-1-1, 4-0-0 ECAC West)
The Soaring Eagles opened their season with a one-point weekend at the East/West Hockey Classic at Norwich University.
Elmira tied Manhattanville College 2-2 before falling to Norwich the following day, 3-2.
The team, however, bounced back with five consecutive victories, outscoring its opponents 23-6 in the process.
The Soaring Eagles possess five players who have scored four or more goals this season.
Cassidy Delainey, Ashley Ryan, Tanis Lamoureux, Ashton Hogan and Erin Weston have combined for 21 tallies.
Lisa Marshall has made all but two appearances in net. The senior netminder is 3-1-1 with a 1.57 goals-against average and .939 save percentage.
“It’s the last two games of the semester and we want to finish on a positive note and carry that momentum through the break,” Houle said. “Hopefully, we continue to play consistent, aggressive hockey and take the game to our opponent.”
Middlebury 2005, Plattsburgh 2006, Plattsburgh 2007, Plattsburgh 2008, Elmira 2009, Amherst 2010, Elmira 2011 and Plattsburgh 2012.
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