PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State’s numbers have been strong — it has an unbeaten record, it’s ranked in the top three nationally and it’s at or near the top of several national men’s hockey statistical categories. But the Cardinals haven’t been pleased with the way they’ve played in some games despite positive outcomes.
They expect this weekend to give them a clear idea of where they stand.
“We’re going to really know what we’re all about after this weekend; we’re going to really know what the country’s all about after this weekend,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “The PrimeLink every year brings like a national flavor. So we’ll learn a lot, because the better the teams you play against, the mistakes will get magnified.
“Because if you make mistakes in your own end like we’ve been making, the puck will be in the back of our own net a lot more.”
No. 3 Plattsburgh hosts the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout this weekend and will meet Wisconsin-Superior tonight. No. 2 Norwich and No. 15 Middlebury will face off in the opening contest, and the winners will play for the championship Saturday night. The third-place game will precede the championship game.
Wisconsin-Superior (3-4) finished last season in a funk and dropped its first three games this year to extend its winless streak to 11 games. But the Yellowjackets have won three of their last four, including a 3-2 victory over St. Scholastica last Saturday.
Pat Dalbec, Cody Hotchkin and Eric Shand all have six points for Wisconsin-Superior.
“We don’t’ know anything about them,” Emery said. “We’re just going to go out and play, try to play good Cardinal hockey and try to take care of business that way.”
Norwich (5-0-1) won its first four games and then tied St. Anselm last Friday before beating New England College 6-2 the next night. The Cadets, who have won the PrimeLink the last two years, are second in Division III with a 5.83 goals-per-game average.
Middlebury (3-0-1) began the season two weeks ago with a tie against Bowdoin and then won its next three, including a 5-4 overtime decision at Connecticut College last Saturday.
“We have two big nonconference games, which go a long way for us, and we need to get the wins here,” Plattsburgh defenseman Barry Roytman said. “We definitely have to be better in our D-zone. We have to definitely pin guys better down low, and every time we get a chance to get the puck out, the puck has to get out.”
The Cardinals (6-0-1) have had a freshman and two sophomores playing on the blue line, and they’ve been missing senior Nick Jensen. But Emery said their problems in the defensive end don’t necessarily start with the defensemen.
“It’s more of the forwards not getting the pucks out and playing better in our own end than our defense,” Emery said. “Our forwards are turning over pucks feeding the point or what have you. But I think we have to do a better job as a unit of five when we’re out there playing better in our end, thinking defense first and getting pucks out that way.”
Emery said Jensen, who broke his hand in the season opener, will be out for the rest of the first semester. The coach wasn’t sure if Dakota Mason, who was out last weekend, will be ready to return this weekend.
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