PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team is hitting the road for the first time this season for what coach Bob Emery said is typically one of its toughest away games.
The Cardinals, who are ranked fourth in the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll, will face North Country rival Potsdam in a SUNY Athletic Conference game tonight.
“I think Potsdam’s one of the toughest games all season long — at Potsdam,” Emery said. “We’ve lost a lot of times over the years there. We’ve won a lot of close battles. It’s just a very hard situation to go in there and try to play.”
The Bears (2-0, 1-0 SUNYAC) are coming off a 9-5 win over Morrisville last Saturday. They edged St. Michael’s 4-3 in overtime the night before.
Potsdam returned four of its top five scorers from last season, including senior forward Matt Viola, who has two goals and four assists so far, and sophomore forward Trevor Cope (six assists).
Among the newcomers is Zach Blake, a sophomore forward who transferred from Plattsburgh. Blake, who played in just four games last season, score the game-winner for the Bears against St. Michael’s.
Potsdam has three new goaltenders this season. Freshman Austin Keiser and sophomore Shane Talarico have each earned a victory. Jon Hall, a freshman, was also in net briefly last weekend.
“They’re going to come out flying. Their biggest game of the year is against us,” Emery said. “So we gotta weather the storm. And try to do our best to equal their emotion, that’s first and foremost.”
The Bears are playing their home game at Massena Arena this season while their usual venue, Maxcy Ice Arena, is being renovated.
The Cardinals (1-0, 1-0) got better as their season opener against Morrisville went along, and goalie Josh Leis said they need to carry over their play from the end of that game to this week’s contest.