November 9, 2012

Cards look to get off to better start vs. Bengals


---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s hockey team is off to a solid 2-0 start to the season, even if it hasn’t been getting off to a good start in games.

The Cardinals were able to come from behind twice, but they hope they don’t keep having to.

Coach Bob Emery admitted he’s concerned about the slow starts.

“The last two games we definitely had to come from behind to play. And usually our first period had been our best period, especially at home in front of our home crowd,” he said. “So it’s something we’ve been focusing on all week, something we went over on the video, something we’re going to stress right until game time (today).”

Plattsburgh, which is ranked fourth in the Division III Men’s Poll, plays its first two-game weekend, hosting Buffalo State tonight and Fredonia Saturday.

The Cardinals (2-0, 2-0 SUNYAC) opened the season by giving up a goal to Morrisville 10 minutes into the game and getting outplayed for most of the first period. Last Saturday against Potsdam, they trailed 2-0 after the first period.

Junior Nick Jensen said he didn’t have an answer for why the Cardinals have come out of the gate slowly. He acknowledged they could be still feeling things out this early in the season.

“But we know better than that,” Jensen said. “We should come out a little harder every time. With this opposition we play with in this league, we gotta come out better.”

The Cardinals recovered pretty quickly in both games. They answered Morrisville’s goal after five minutes and won 6-1, and they scored four in last week’s second period against Potsdam to pull ahead and eventually win 6-4. Their combined scoring margin for the second and third periods is 11-2.

Jensen said the two comebacks displayed Plattsburgh’s character.

This weekend they don’t want to have to climb out of a hole.

“I think the big key (is) we’re an easy opponent a lot of times — people come in here and they’re so jacked up to play,” Emery said. “We either gotta 1, equal the emotion of our opponent or 2, we gotta weather the storm better defensively.”

Jensen added that they need to be better prepared mentally.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s a team thing. It’s mental. We gotta be ready to go from the beginning.”

Buffalo State (2-2-1, 1-1-1) beat Morrisville 3-2 last Friday and then fell to Penn State in a nonconference game. Mike Zannella, a junior forward, leads the team with five goals and an assist, and sophomore forward Nick Melligan also has six points. Junior Kevin Carr has been in net for all five of the Bengals’ games.

The last time Plattsburgh met Buffalo State was a 4-3 triple overtime game in last year’s SUNY Athletic Conference semifinals at Stafford Ice Arena.

Fredonia (3-2, 2-1) edged Morrisville 2-1 in overtime last weekend.

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