FREDONIA — Plattsburgh State tied Saturday’s game with one minute left in the second period but didn’t carry over any momentum into the third.
Matt Hehr scored both Fredonia goals, including the winner 8:14 into the third, as the Blue Devils beat the Cardinals 2-1 in SUNY Athletic Conference men’s hockey.
“It was a game where defense won the game,” Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. “Fredonia played with a lot of heart and guts, sacrificed a lot and was great in the paint. And the goalie played well, obviously.
“The only thing that concerns me with our team is it was 1-1 at the end of the second period, and the first 10 minutes of the third we came out with no emotion at all. That was the only part of the game we didn’t play well.”
The loss puts the Cardinals (14-6-1, 9-2-1 SUNYAC) at a disadvantage in the conference race and likely ends their chances at receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA playoffs. They have four games left and can’t catch first-place Oswego unless the Lakers give up a point to someone else and lose to the Cardinals. Emery said Plattsburgh will need to win the SUNYAC tournament to get an NCAA berth.
“This puts us really behind the eight ball in the league,” Emery said. “I think we’re done now (in terms of an at-large NCAA bid) — we have to win the league now. We were a long shot with five losses; now with six we’re done.”
Hehr gave the Blue Devils (7-13-2, 5-7-1) a lead 17 seconds into the second period, and Dillan Fox tallied his fourth goal in three games to knot it at 1-1 at 19:00. Fredonia put just four shots on goal in the period.
In the third, the Cardinals took a charging penalty at 7:44, and Hehr recorded an unassisted goal.
“I just don’t get it how we don’t come out of the locker room,” Emery said. “I think we went in at the end of the second period thinking, ‘We outshot them 11-4, now we’re good. It’s just gonna happen. We’re not gonna have to work for it.’”
Plattsburgh outshot Fredonia 36-18, and Mark Friesen turned away 35 of those shots. Mathieu Cadieux had 16 saves for the Cardinals.
Plattsburgh was held under two goals for just the second time this season. Emery said that was a combination of Friesen’s play and the Cardinals not capitalizing.
“We had some great chances where we didn’t get shots on net. We had two breakaways, and one of them we shot it out of the rink — it didn’t even hit the glass.
“We gotta find a way. Good teams find a way to win.”
The Blue Devils came into the weekend having not won in their last nine games, but they beat Potsdam Friday before defeating Plattsburgh.
Plattsburgh State 1
Plattsburgh 0 1 0 — 1
Fredonia 0 1 1 — 2
First period- Penalties: Grace, PSU (holding), 12:13.
Second period- 1, Fred, Hehr (Jung, McLaughlin), 0:17. 2, PSU, Fox (Baleshta), 19:00 (pp). Penalties: Doust, Fred (slashing), 1:34. Melkert, Fred (cross-checking), 3:46. Cosgrove, Fred (boarding), 18:40. Cosgrove, Fred (misconduct), 18:40.
Third period- 3, Fred, Hehr, 8:14 (pp). Penalties: Radisa, PSU (charging), 7:44. Owczarczak, Fred (IDC-Head Elbow), 12:09.
Shots on goal:
Plattsburgh 11 11 14 — 36
Fredonia 8 4 6 — 18
Goaltenders (shots-saves): Cadieux, PSU, 18-16. Friesen, Fred, 36-35.
Power plays (goals-opportunities): Plattsburgh1-4, Fredonia 1-2.