BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Teal Gove just couldn’t be denied.
The Berwick, Ont., native helped the No. 1-ranked Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team to a 5-0 blanking of Neumann University with her first career hat trick in Saturday’s ECAC West semifinal at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.
“Sometimes the puck goes in,” Cardinals (24-0-2) coach Kevin Houle said. “She’s had a phenomenal year for us. (Gove) has a knack for scoring goals, and she’s there in front for tip-ins. She’s a goal scorer, and I can’t say enough good things about the kid.”
Plattsburgh’s Ali Vakos opened the game’s scoring with a redirect in front at the 18:40 mark of the opening period.
After Alyssa Parke slipped around a defenseman in the high slot, the sophomore committed to a backhand shot, which caught the blade of Vakos’ stick and into the back of the net.
The Cardinals concluded the first 20 minutes of play with a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and a 21-8 advantage in shots on goal.
“I thought the first period; we gave up some real quality opportunities to Neumann. I know we outshot them 21-8, but their eight shots on net…three of them were point blank,” Houle said. “If you give up a goal there, it can be a different game for sure. After that, I thought we really controlled the play.”
With a lengthy shift occurring in the Knights (10-16-1) zone, Parke assisted on her second goal of the night with a blast from the right point.
Gove was able to get her stick on the ice, deflecting the puck passed Neumann goaltender Shannon Donnelly.
“They kind of pack it in around the net, so we knew we were going to have to move the puck around up top and get pucks through,” Houle said. “Once we got bodies in front, crashed the net and looked for the rebound, we were able to finish them off.
“That was key because they’re trying to play around their goalie and keep you to the outside. If we don’t get those rebounds, it’s a different story.”
The third period belonged to Gove.
The senior captain banged home a one-time feed from Jenny Kistner at 8:50 before an attempted pass inadvertently banked off the blade of a skate and into the net at 15:03.
During a Knights 5-on-3 power play midway through the third period, coach Casey Handrahan elected to pull Donnelly for an extra attacker, but to their dismay were unsuccessful on registering a goal.
“We’ve killed off a lot of 5-on-3s this year, but we don’t take a lot of penalties,” Houle said. “I was frustrated, but we have to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in a position to take those penalties.
“I thought we did a great job with the kill. Sydney Aveson made some great saves (Saturday), too.”
Aveson collected her eighth shutout of the season, fending off all 22 shots faced, while improving her record to 20-0-2 on the year.
In addition to Gove’s hat trick, Parke contributed three assists.
Plattsburgh finished the night with a 54-22 advantage in shots on goal, while earning one power-play goal on five chances. Neumann was 0-for-6 on the man advantage.
The Cardinals will try for their first ECAC West tournament championship since 2007 today against Elmira College, a 5-0 winner over Utica College, at 3 p.m.
Tickets prices are $5 for adults and $3 for college students with a valid ID. The Plattsburgh athletic department will be providing free tickets to the first 300 students each day who present a current student ID.
All tickets will be available at 1:30 p.m. at the Field House Box Office.
Plattsburgh State 5,
Neumann University 0
Neumann 0 0 0 — 0
Plattsburgh 1 2 2 — 5
First period- 1, PSU, Vakos (Parke, Gilligan), 18:40. Penalties: Spatola, NEU (interference), 1:03. MacInnis, PSU (cross-checking), 6:05.
Second period- 2, PSU, Gove (Parke, VanGlahn), 12:27. 3, PSU, Rutherford (Balisy), 14:03. Penalties: Gilligan, PSU (hooking), 16:13. Kistner, PSU (checking), 18:15. Brenning, NEU (slashing), 19:19.
Third period- 4, PSU, Gove (Kistner, Parke), 8:50 (pp). 5, PSU, Gove (Favretto, Ziesmann), 15:03. Penalties: Gove, PSU (interference), 2:59. Russelo, NEU (hooking), 5:40. Ziesmann, PSU (slashing), 6:18. Era, PSU (tripping), 6:34. Russelo, NEU (cross-checking), 8:10. Delry, NEU (hooking), 11:32.
Shots on goal:
Neumann 8 9 5 — 22
Plattsburgh 21 18 15 — 54
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Donnelly, NEU, 54-49. Aveson, PSU, 22-22.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Neumann 0-6; Plattsburgh 1-5.
Elmira College 5,
Utica College 0
PLATTSBURGH — After a scoreless game through 40 minutes of play, the Soaring Eagles (21-4-1) tallied five third-period goals en route to a 5-0 win over the Pioneers (16-9-2).
Caitlin Metcalf, Erin Weston, Ashton Hogan and Ashley Ryan all recorded goals during the final 9:01 of regulation to solidify the win.
Lauren Sullivan picked up her 12th win of the year in net, saving all 19 shots faced.
Each team finished the contest 0-for-4 on the power play.
Elmira dropped two games to Plattsburgh Jan. 19 and 20, losing 4-1 and 5-4.
The Soaring Eagles finished the regular season in second place and are in search of their eighth ECAC West Championship.
Elmira College 5, Utica College 0
Utica 0 0 0 — 0
Elmira 0 0 5 — 5
First period- Penalties: Kieffer, UC (tripping), 2:24. Beckman, UC (holding), 8:33. Beckman, UC (body-checking), 10:43.
Second period- Penalties: Schwartz, UC (body-checking), 11:35. Bench, EC (too many players), 14:11. Lamoureux, EC (hooking), 17:22. Hogan, EC (high-sticking), 18:58.
Third period- 1, EC, Lamoureux (Ryan), 1:46. 2, EC, Metcalf (Curk, Wilgosh), 10:59.
3, EC, Weston (Johnston), 11:59. 4, EC, Hogan (unassisted), 16:05. 5, EC, Ryan (unassisted), 19:04. Penalties: Hogan, EC (interference), 12:43.
Shots on goal
Utica 5 6 8 — 19
Elmira 12 10 13 — 35
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Hamel, UC, 35-30. Sullivan, EC, 19-19.
Power play (goals-opportunities): Utica 0-4; Elmira 0-4.