By COURTNEY LEWIS Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Two preseason polls put Plattsburgh State among the top five teams in Division III men’s hockey, but after the first game of the season, coach Bob Emery wasn’t convinced the Cardinals belong there.
Plattsburgh shut out Potsdam 3-0 in a SUNY Athletic Conference game Friday at Stafford Arena, but Emery said the team has work to do.
“I know one thing, we’re not the second-best or fifth-best team in the country by the way we played (Friday),” Emery said. “I didn’t like our puck management, and I didn’t think we played an honest game at times. And when I say honest, I mean smart. We gotta play smarter.”
Nick Jensen and Dillan Fox both finished with two points for the Cardinals, and Mathieu Cadieux earned the shutout.
Plattsburgh started the second period with a 5-on-3 advantage and didn’t need long to give itself an advantage on the scoreboard. Jensen scored from near the top of the slot 41 seconds in.
“It gave us a little more puck possession right off the bat, and luckily we took care of business right away,” Jensen said of the two-man advantage. “That gave us a little breathing room. But we have to keep working harder. We had little glimpses here and there, so as a team overall we still have to work harder.”
Patrick Hermans, a freshman defenseman, notched his first collegiate goal on a long shot from the left point at 3:31 to make it 2-0.
The Bears took a timeout in the middle of the period and appeared to regroup a little. They started getting more chances, including a shot that clanged off the pipe, and Plattsburgh called timeout with 5:22 left in the period.
“We got a two-goal lead and gave up a grade-A scoring chance,” Emery said. “We got a little lucky; they hit the crossbar. That goes in, it’s a totally different game. And that was the result of bad puck management.”
Fox banged the puck in for a 3-0 cushion early in the third. Cadieux wasn’t overly busy in net — Plattsburgh outshot Potsdam 51-14 — but he turned away all 14 shots he faced.
The Cardinals held a 16-4 advantage in shots in the first period and put the puck in the net late in the period, but the officials ruled that Alex Jensen kicked it in.
Jon Hall made 48 saves for Potsdam.
Hermans was one of four Plattsburgh freshmen in the lineup and the only one to register a point.
“He carried himself very well,” fellow blueliner Nick Jensen said. “He carried himself like he’s been here all the last three years I’ve been here, too.”
Rookie forwards Dakota Mason and Kyle Hall also dressed, along with goalie Connor Creech, who did not play.
Plattsburgh hosts Geneseo next Friday, and while Emery wants to see improvement, he was pleased with some aspects of the season opener.
“All-in-all it’s a matter of winning the game and playing good defense, and when you keep your opponent to zero goals against, a coach has to be happy with the defensive part of the game,” Emery said.
Plattsburgh 3, Potsdam 0
Potsdam 0 0 0 — 0
Plattsburgh 0 2 1 — 3
First period- Penalties: Blake, Pots (tripping), 9:21. Calabrese, PSU (roughing), 9:21. Farnan, PSU (tripping), 13:01. O’Connor, Pots (hooking), 19:03.
Second period- 1, PSU, N. Jensen (Fox, Roytman), 0:41 (pp). 2, PSU, Hermans (Beadow, Cassidy), 9:31. Penalties: Potsdam (delay of game), 0:00. Arnold, Pots (roughing), 2:54. Popp, PSU (roughing), 2:54. N. Jensen, PSU (interference), 4:45. Radisa, PSU (tripping), 11:56.
Third period- 3, PSU, Fox (N. Jensen, Baleshta), 4:23 (pp). Penalties: Arnold, Pots (holding), 2:44. Thomas, Pots (tripping), 13:14. Thompson, Pots (boarding), 15:26. Emmerling, PSU (tripping), 18:05. Radison, PSU (tripping), 18:18. Rivera, Pots (10-misconduct), 19:23.
Potsdam 4 6 4 — 14
Plattsburgh 16 16 19 — 51
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Hall, Pots, 51-48. Cadieux, PSU, 14-14.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Potsdam 0-5; Plattsburgh 2-5.
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