RICKY ST. CLAIR
PLATTSBURGH — This might have been the statement win the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team was looking for.
Down 2-0, the No. 1-ranked Cardinals (11-0-1) rallied for four unanswered goals en route to a 4-2 victory over No. 5 Norwich University (6-2-3) at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena Sunday afternoon.
After playing what head coach Kevin Houle said was one of their worst periods this season, Shannon Stewart put the Cardinals on the board with a backhand shot in the low slot with 11.6 left in the second period.
“That’s a huge goal heading into the third period with some momentum, and it showed,” Houle said. “We came out in the third and played with more intensity. We just had to come out of that hole we were faced with in the second period, and that goal helped.
“We made a couple adjustments, but the biggest thing was that we needed to start winning some loose pucks. It paid off, and it’s a credit to the girls for going out and executing and getting the job done.”
As if it were a tale of two periods, the Cardinals managed to control possession and win 50-50 battles on the boards. The result — Teal Gove punching home a trickling puck in the paint at 1:46 of the third to tie it.
Then, the unlikely happened.
Ali Vakos, in her first game for Plattsburgh since transferring from Connecticut College after the first semester, raced up the far-side boards on a breakaway and went top shelf on Cadets goaltender Kelly Fisk for the eventual game-winner.
“I think (Norwich) got caught on a change, but she was flying down the wing after coming off the bench,” Houle said. “That was a great goal. She went upstairs on the shortside, and it was a great finish for her.”
Mia Favretto provided the insurance goal with her first marker of the year just 51 seconds later.
With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 3-0-1 on the year when the opposing team scores first.
“We’ve been resilient all year, but I’d like to see us have more of a 60-minute effort,” Houle said. “When you play a team like Norwich, they’re as talented … if not the most talented team in the country, and they can really wind it up at times, which showed in the second period. We were fortunate to weather the storm.”
Sydney Aveson was credited with the win, her eighth of the season, for Plattsburgh, fending off 16 of 18 shots.
After making her second career start in net and keeping the Cardinals off the board for the first 39:11 of play, Kelly Fisk was handed the loss.
The Cardinals sit at 11-0-1 on the year and are 6-0-1 in non-conference play.
The squad hosts a pair of ECAC West home games against Oswego State Jan. 12 and 13.
Plattsburgh State 4,
Norwich University 2
Norwich 1 1 0 — 2
Plattsburgh 0 1 3 — 4
First period- 1, NU, Parsons (Charron), 5:46 (pp). Penalties: Rutherford, PSU (hooking), 4:48.
Second period- 2, NU, Charron (Greene), 10:46. 3, PSU, Stewart (Gove, Kistner), 19:49 (pp). Penalties: Gallagher, NU (tripping), 18:48.
Third period- 4, PSU, Gove (MacInnis, Stewart), 1:46. 5, PSU, Vakos, 13:31. 6, PSU, Favretto (Ziesmann, Vakos), 14:22. Penalties: Stewart, PSU (tripping), 3:19. Invernizzi, NU (interference), 10:19.
Shots on goal:
Norwich 4 8 6 — 18
Plattsburgh 10 14 — 30
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Fisk, NU, 30-26. Aveson, PSU, 18-16.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Norwich 1-2; Plattsburgh 1-2.