Linemates Alex Jensen, Dillan Fox and Mark Cosntantine are 1-2-3 on Plattsburgh State’s scoring list.
Michael Radisa, Michael Cassidy and Alex Brenton are … farther down the list.
But like the scoring line, those three have been kept together much of this season. The hard-working players know their role.
“When we start trying to be finesse guys, that’s when we start making mistakes and whatnot,” Radisa said. “We try to keep it simple and be good defensively and then crash and bang and get some garbage goals, as they say.”
The fourth-ranked Cardinals return to SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey play when they visit Potsdam tonight.
Brenton, Radisa and Cassidy started playing together last year and have also been on the same line for most games this season. Cassidy said they’ve developed good chemistry.
“I pretty much know where they’re going to be,” he said. “It’s real easy, considering we started at the beginning of last year.”
Radisa, a sophomore from Caledon, Ont., was a regular in the lineup last year but never found the back of the net. He said he’s been shooting more this season, and it has paid off. He tallied his first-career goal in the second game of the year and now has five as well as four assists.
He said his wingers are “awesome guys to play with.
“We’re very similar; all three of us can skate. We like to get on the forecheck and throw our bodies around.
“And they’re smart hockey players. So it makes my job as a center easier when I can count on them to be in the right spot at the right time to make sure we don’t get scored on. Then we can transition to offense pretty easy.”
Cassidy, a West Seneca native, put up career-high numbers last year: five goals and 10 assists. He acknowledged the goals aren’t coming quite as often in his junior season — he has a 2-6-8 line — but said he’s more of a defensive-minded forward anyway.
Brenton, also a junior, netted a career-high eight goals last year and already has six this season, including three game-winners. The Kanata, Ont., native leads the team with 34 penalty minutes.
Cassidy and Radisa said the trio tries to bring a lot of energy.
“All three of the guys come to play hard. They play tough,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “They’re not the most skilled guys that we have, but they get the most done many a night. They leave it on the ice. A lot of those guys have done a good job finishing this year as well.”
Starting with Potsdam tonight, Plattsburgh (14-2-2, 7-0-2 SUNYAC) has seven regular-season games left, all against conference opponents.
The Bears (6-10, 1-6) defeated Cortland in December for their only conference win. They started the season 0-6, including a 3-0 opening-night loss to Plattsburgh, but have won six of their last 10 games.
The Bears are known to get fired up whenever they play the SUNYAC’s other North Country team, and Emery said he expects to see their A-game.
The Cardinals are in first place in the conference and intent on staying there.
“The primary goal this and every year for us is to win the SUNYAC regular-season championship, and over the past years, the team that wins that regular-season championship is the one that has very few losses,” Emery said. “So right now we’re very fortunate to have zero losses, and we gotta maintain that …”
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