When Plattsburgh State coach Bob Emery was asked about Saturday’s opponent, which just happens to be archrival Oswego, he feigned confusion.
“Who? Uh, we play Cortland Friday,” Emery said.
The Cardinals do indeed visit the Red Dragons for a SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey contest today, and they’re trying to learn from last season and be sure not to overlook anyone.
Plattsburgh (8-0-1, 6-0-1 SUNYAC) is fresh off a PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout championship and looking to close the first semester unbeaten.
“I gotta think we have a little bit more confidence coming off of two wins in the PrimeLink,” Emery said. “But every day’s a new fight in Division III. And we found out last year that one or two games can keep you out of the playoffs come the end of the year.
“It’s quite ironic we’re coming off a little bit of a high here, and one of the teams that gave us a blemish in the league last year with a tie was Cortland. And we gotta go down there and take care of business.”
The Red Dragons (3-4-2, 3-3-1) are fourth in the conference standings and winless in their last three games. They played a nonconference series with Neumann last week, falling 7-2 and then tying the Knights 2-2.
Leading scorer Nick Zappia has 12 points on three goals and nine assists.
Cortland tripped up Plattsburgh at the end of the first semester last year, scoring a third-period goal for a 3-3 draw.
Oswego (4-3, 3-2) is one point behind Cortland in the standings. The Lakers, who lost their top nine scorers from last year’s team, began the season with a 3-2 overtime loss to Fredonia and dropped another SUNYAC game to Geneseo two weeks ago. They were off last weekend.
Currently, Oswego’s top five scorers are four freshmen and a sophomore.
Plattsburgh goaltender Mathieu Cadieux said he’s not sure what to expect from the Lakers.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Cadieux said. “I haven’t really looked into them much, but I know they’re a young team, so it will be interesting to see how they are.”
The Cardinals didn’t just gain confidence from their PrimeLink performance — they also claimed the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll. But they insist they aren’t placing any importance on that. In fact, Emery and Cadieux both said it may make things harder for them.
“It doesn’t matter to us, but I think being ranked anywhere high, you know you’re going to get other teams’ best games because they’re going to be going into it looking at ‘Oh, we’re playing a high ranked team,’” Cadieux said. “No matter where we’re ranked, we’re still going to try to come out and play our best game.”
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