PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State was sitting on a 4-0 lead in the third period Saturday when St. Norbert found some life and was suddenly within two goals.
Plattsburgh Kevin Houle said the rally “absolutely” made him nervous.
But Emma Rutherford quickly scored an insurance goal and the Cardinals earned a 5-2 win in the NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship quarterfinals at Stafford Ice Arena.
“You know, really we fell asleep,” Houle said of the third period. “We had a turnover in the neutral zone, and everybody watched the kid skate in all alone. Again we had a turnover just outside our defensive blueline, and they walked in again.
“You can’t give a team a chance to hang around, especially a team like that. They’ve had those breaks and opportunities, some late-game heroics and they believe in themselves. Fortunately we were able to get that fifth goal and breathe a little easier at that point.”
Plattsburgh (26-0-2) will play Middlebury in the semifinals Friday in Superior, Wisc.
Zoe Kurth put the Green Knights (18-10-2) on the board 8:14 into the third with a low wrist shot on the rush. St. Norbert got another good chance shortly afterward but hit the post, and Plattsburgh soon took a timeout to regroup.
Then Henriette Ostergaard banged in a shot from the slot to pull the Knights within 4-2 with 3:37 left. But Emma Rutherford sealed it 45 seconds later.
The shots were even at 6-6 in the third, but Plattsburgh held a 38-15 advantage for the game. Sydney Aveson made 13 saves to pick up the victory.
The Cardinals jumped in front 3:14 into the game when Mia Favretto’s shot from the point was deflected in by Teal Gove, who was left alone in front of the net. Plattsburgh went on the power play late in the period, and Chelsea VanGlahn scored from the right side three seconds before intermission.
“I think it was very important to come out with the lead in the first period,” Houle said. “They’re a team that’s been on a great run, and the more they hang around and are in the game, they’re going to gain confidence.
“I just think they were a team that played very loose and confident. And for us to come out with a 2-0 lead was big.”
Kaley Gibson made a good stop on a Plattsburgh one-timer in the middle of the second and turned away another shot with a pad save shortly after. But with just over five minutes left, a shot hit her left pad and Gove collected the rebound and tucked it underneath Gibson for a 3-0 cushion. Then Shannon Stewart took a couple of whacks at another rebound out front, and the puck hit the crossbar and dropped in to make it 4-0.
Rutherford and Allison Era both finished with two points for Plattsburgh.
“We knew that they had a couple lines that were pretty dangerous,” St. Norbert coach Rob Morgan said. “And I think that their D are very, very poised with the puck and make great plays. They do a really good job of getting pucks to the net and scoring those dirty goals and winning the greasy areas.
“And we can learn from them. And we will. And we hope that in the future we’ll get another opportunity like this. But right now it’s going to sting for a while.”
Gibson totaled 33 saves.
The Green Knights were playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time. Before Saturday, they had won nine straight games, including a run through the NCHA playoffs as the fifth seed.
The Cardinals will make their second straight appearance in the final four and their seventh overall. They lost in the semifinals in overtime last year.
“Ever since we went last year, we’ve just been looking forward to getting back there,” Gove said. “We made sure throughout this season that we weren’t looking too far ahead; we always focused on whatever game we were playing.
“But now that it’s actually here, it’s exciting. It’s the best time of the season.”
Plattsburgh State 5, St. Norbert 2
St. Norbert 0 0 2 — 2
Plattsburgh 2 2 1 — 5
First period- 1, PSU, Gove (Favretto), 3:14. 2, PSU, VanGlahn (Era), 19:57 (pp). Penalties: Favretto, PSU (holdings), 8:13. Roethlisberger, SNC (hooking), 18:40.
Second period- 3, PSU, Gove (Rutherford, Ziesmann), 14:54. 4, PSU, Stewart (Era), 18:03. Penalties: Parke, PSU (interference), 3:16. Conlon, SNC (tripping), 6:54. Hilll, SNC (checking), 11:02..
Third period- 5, SNC, Kurth, 8:14. 6, SNC, Ostergaard (Kurth), 16:23. 7, PSU, Rutherford 17:08. Penalties: Nicholson, SNC (interference), 3:14.
Shots on goal:
St. Norbert 4 5 6 — 15
Plattsburgh 14 18 6 — 38
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Gibson, SNC, 38-33. Aveson, PSU, 15-13.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): St. Norbert 0-2, Plattsburgh 1-4.
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