By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Kyle Thomas scored a power-play goal on the rush in Friday’s second period, and that was enough to give Norwich a win.
Matic Marinsek denied all 27 of Plattsburgh State’s shots as the Cadets earned a 1-0 victory in nonconference men’s hockey at Stafford Ice Arena.
Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery didn’t think his team showed enough grit.
“I don’t think we fought that hard,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “I thought we were watching too much in the first two periods. Our forwards gotta start playing with more sense of urgency.
“I thought in the third period was when we finally started playing with some sense of urgency, and we got some good goal-scoring chances.”
The seventh-ranked Cardinals closed the first semester with a 7-3-1 record. Two of their losses were to ranked teams, including No. 1 Norwich, but they were also upset by Geneseo and settled for a tie against Cortland. They stand second in the SUNY Athletic Conference, one point behind Oswego.
“I don’t like the makeup of our team at all,” Emery said. “We need to find more role players. And that’s probably our fault as coaches.
“I think the makeup of our team is real soft, and we gotta find some guys that are willing to battle and fill that third- and fourth-line role.”
Friday’s game featured back-and-forth action, with both goalies making some tough saves.
The Cardinals had a good chance to take the lead late in the first period, when Luke Baleshta received the puck out front. He made a move but didn’t fool Marinsek, who made the stop.
Norwich (10-0) had an opportunity to break the scoreless tie in the second when Thomas sped into the offensive zone after the puck and sent a diagonal pass to Pier-Olivier Cotnoir. Plattsburgh’s Mathieu Cadieux turned him away.
Later there were rushes at both ends, and while the Cardinals missed the net, Thomas beat Cadieux from the right side to put the Cadets in front.
Plattsburgh didn’t put a shot on goal in the first seven minutes of third, but it ended up outshooting Norwich in the period. Cadieux went to the bench in the closing minutes, but the Cardinals couldn’t capitalize on the extra attacker.
“Oh boy, that was a great hockey game,” Norwich coach Mike McShane said. “Usually a 1-0 game is boring for fans, but that was up-and-down and (there was) great goaltending by both goalies.
“I mean, we had a lot of chances to score to go up a couple. And they did too. And they peppered our goalie at the end, and he just stood tall. And our defense played well.”
Cadieux finished with 25 saves.
Plattsburgh defenseman Preston Kaye returned to the lineup after missing eight games with an injury, which meant that Nick Jensen moved back to forward — he was pressed into duty as a blueliner in the last game.
The Cardinals are off until hosting the Cardinal Classic Jan. 4 and 5. Emery said more players will need to be willing to play blue-collar hockey in the second semester.
“Guys come in the office all the time and they want to know how they can be everyday players,” he said. “We’re looking for guys that battle and win 50-50 pucks and get in on the forecheck and play like a role player.”
Norwich 1, Plattsburgh 0
Norwich 0 1 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 0 0 0 — 0
First period- Penalties: Thomas, Nor (interference), 1:05. Allan, Nor (goaltender interference), 10:18. Team, PSU (too many players on the ice), 12:00. Fulton, Nor (holding), 14:13.
Second period- 1, Nor, Thomas (Gorman), 14:15 (pp). Penalties: Puglisi, PSU (roughing), 5:43. Lyrvall, Nor (holding), 11:08. Farnan, PSU (slashing), 13:35. Allan, Nor (interference), 17:56.
Shots on goal
Norwich 7 11 8 — 26
Plattsburgh 9 9 9 — 27
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Marinsek, Nor, 27-27. Cadieux, PSU, 26-25.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Norwich 0-3, Plattsburgh 0-5.
Attendance: 2, 269.
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