BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team would like to keep historical trends in the past.
The No. 1 nationally-ranked Cardinals (7-0-1, 3-0), who have remained in the top spot of the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) poll for consecutive weeks, travel to Buffalo State this weekend for a two-game conference slate.
Plattsburgh State owns a perfect 24-0 record against the Bengals (3-4, 2-2) since the program’s inaugural season in 2001-2002.
“We don’t look at the past except for last year’s results, so 24-0 doesn’t play into anything whatsoever,” head coach Kevin Houle said. “We’re preparing (for Buffalo State) like any other team we’ve faced this season. We’ve had close games with them in recent years and have to be ready to play. Hopefully we bring that attitude (Saturday). Anybody can beat anybody.”
The Cardinals are led offensively by Teal Gove, who ranks second behind Elmira’s Ashton Hogan in Division III with nine goals in eight games played, while teammate Jenny Kistner is tied for first in the nation with 14 total points.
Houle operates one of the deadliest power-play units in the country, featuring a success rate of 34.4 percent and are near perfect on the penalty kill, converting 21-of-23 chances shorthanded. The squad’s special team’s success has led to an unprecedented 5.25 goals per game average.
“We’re happy with the numbers, but there’s always room for improvement on the power play and getting the puck deep in the opponent’s zone,” Houle said. “Both groups have moved the puck well at times. We’re a disciplined team, so we’d like to avoid being shorthanded, but killing off penalties has been key, especially in the Middlebury game.”
While Plattsburgh State has swept a trio of conference games, the Bengals are currently tied for fifth in the ECAC West standings and are 1-2 at home on the year. They are led by Courtney Carnes (4-5-9), Kara Goodwin (2-5-7), and Lauren Mallo (1-6-7). Junior Jordan Lee and freshman Sarah Quigley have split time between the pipes.
Following Sunday’s 2 p.m. contest, the Cardinals have one more game remaining on the schedule — a critical non-conference matchup at Manhattanville Dec. 7 before the semester’s conclusion.
“We’ve been successful to this point, but if we don’t finish on a strong note, those games are for not, so to speak,” Houle said. “We have to make sure to take care of business. I’m hopeful our team can show the same mental preparedness and intensity as they’ve showed all season.”
The puck drops at the Buffalo State Ice Arena this afternoon for 3 p.m.