By COURTNEY LEWIS
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State took a big step toward securing a first-round bye in the SUNY Athletic Conference men’s ice hockey tournament.
Kevin Emmerling tallied a goal and two assists as the Cardinals defeated Geneseo 6-1 Friday at Stafford Ice Arena.
“The game had a big meaning, and I think the players knew that and they respected that, and they came out and they played hard,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said.
The Cardinals (15-6-1, 10-2-1 SUNYAC) entered the game trailing the Blue Knights by two points in the SUNYAC standings. The teams now tied for second with 21 points, three points behind Oswego. Plattsburgh is in prime position to claim one of the first-round byes that goes to the top two teams because it has three games left while Geneseo has just two.
No. 9 Plattsburgh hosts Brockport tonight.
The Cardinals came out of Friday’s first period leading 2-1. Emmerling put them on the board just 1:06 in.
“Coach always talks about coming out real hard the first couple shifts first period. It’s good to get a little momentum,” Emmerling said. “That’s the key to every game, I think — just getting momentum and keeping the foot on the gas there.”
Geneseo’s A.J. Sgaraglio tied it just after the midway point of the period. But Plattsburgh went on the power play with just under three minutes left, and Jared Docking pushed in a rebound from the right side to give the Cardinals a lead they would never surrender.
In the second period, Michael Cassidy padded Plattsburgh’s lead when he brought the puck into the zone and released a wrister from the left circle that beat Geneseo’s Bryan Haude at 13:44 of the second.
The Cardinals owned the shots 17-4 in the period.
During a Geneseo penalty in the third, Alex Jensen skated in and jammed the puck in the left side of the net for a 4-1 lead. The goal was Jensen’s first since Nov. 17.
The Cardinals got their second 5-on-3 of the game in the middle of the third, and Dillan Fox stretched his points streak to seven games when he put the puck past Haude. Cassidy banged in his second of the game with eight seconds left.
Plattsburgh went 3-for-7 on the power play while holding Geneseo to 0-for-4.
“Our penalty kill (Friday), we watched a ton of video (Friday) on that, and we really stressed how important it is to keep those penalty-killing numbers where they are or even better,” Emery said. “And to get a short-handed goal is frosting on the cake when you’re on the penalty kill.
“So our special teams did play a major role in the game (Friday).”
Mathieu Cadieux stopped 16 shots in the Plattsburgh net. Docking and Luke Baleshta both finished with two points.
Haude had 32 saves for No. 14 Geneseo (15-7-1, 10-3-1).
Plattsburgh needs to win all of its remaining games to have any chance of catching Oswego.
“That’s one game there. We got the job done, but we still have to win the next three,” Emmerling said. “So that was a good win, but we gotta keep going and get the next one.”
Plattsburgh State 6, Geneseo 1
Geneseo 1 0 0 — 1
Plattsburgh 2 1 3 — 6
First period- 1, PSU, Emmerling (Baleshta), 1:06. 2, Gen, Sgaraglio (Bisdee), 10:06. 3, PSU, Docking (Emmerling, Baleshta), 17:31 (pp). Penalties: Caradonna, Gen (boarding), 3:47. Sucese, Gen (interference), 17:05. Docking, PSU (hitting after whistle), 20:00. Vit, Gen (hitting after whistle), 20:00.
Second period- 4, PSU, Cassidy (Brenton), 13:44. Penalties: Grace, PSU (holding), 3:19. de Jersey, Gen (interference), 6:32. Schell, Gen (tripping), 7:21. Brenton, PSU (high sticking), 17:02.
Third period- 5, PSU, A. Jensen (Docking), 4:35 (sh). 6, PSU, Fox (Emmerling), 6:41 (pp). 7, PSU, Cassidy (Radisa, N. Jensen), 19:52. Penalties: Farnan, PSU (charging), 4:26. Ripple, Gen (roughing), 5:09. de Jersey, Gen (charging), 5:52. Geneseo (too many players), 8:16. Fox, PSU (interference), 12:31. Donnelly, Gen (goaltender interference), 18:35.
Shots on goal:
Geneseo 8 4 5 — 17
Plattsburgh 9 17 12 — 38
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Haude, Gen, 38-32; Cadieux, PSU, x17-16.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Geneseo 0-4, Plattsburgh 3-7.
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