UTICA — Plattsburgh State women’s hockey coach Kevin Houle has made it a point of emphasis for his team to put away its opponents early.
The No. 1-ranked Cardinals (15-0-1, 8-0-0) had no problem doing so Friday, scoring three first-period goals in an 8-0 rout of No. 10 Utica College.
“We came out of the first period with a three-goal lead, but didn’t start out strong,” Houle said. “We gave up a number of 2-on-1 chances and had a few bad turnovers. Don’t get me wrong, we played well, but we were able to withstand their early pressure and turn it around.
“Sometimes, the puck goes in for you. It went in the net for us (Friday). But it’s the turnovers we want to cut back on.”
Giovanna Senese, Jenny Kistner, Bridget Balisy and Alyssa Park (two goals) each scored inside the final 40 minutes to give Plattsburgh an eight-goal victory.
The Cardinals managed a 44-20 advantage in shots on goal in the tilt.
“For the most part, we played the game in their end,” Houle said. “As I’ve said in the past, sometimes your best defense is a good offense. That was the case (Friday).
“Sydney (Aveson) had to make some big saves and was left alone on several occasions. If she lets one or two shots get past her, it could’ve been a completely different game.”
Aveson stopped all 20 shots faced for her 11th win between the pipes, registering her ninth shutout of the season.
Plattsburgh’s one-player advantage finished 1-for-3, while the penalty-kill unit kept the Pioneers (11-4-0, 6-3-0) off the scoreboard on three occasions.
The Cardinals will face Utica in the second of two ECAC West bouts at 3 p.m. today.
“After the game, I told the girls, ‘Hey, we’ve got to enjoy this and be happy with an 8-0 win, but that’s a good team in the other locker room,’” Houle said. “We’re hoping for the same outcome, but we have to work for it as they are a good hockey team.