January 22, 2013

PSU hockey teams enter stretch run

PLATTSBURGH — With the 2012-13 hockey season bearing down on the month of February can March Madness be far behind?

Plattsburgh State enters the stretch run this weekend with an eye toward improving its lot for the postseason. The Cardinal men (12-5-1) have seven games left in the regular season while the women (16-0-1) are down to eight contests.

The men, 7-1-1 in conference play, remain one point behind Oswego (8-1) and two in back of Geneseo (8-1-1) in the State University of New York Athletic Conference, but with plenty of time left to make a move toward the top. The Cardinals will host Geneseo (Feb. 8) and Oswego (Feb. 16). All seven of Plattsburgh’s remaining games are conference tests.

The women, 9-0-0 in ECAC West, are two points in back of Elmira (10-2-0); however, the Cardinals are in the drivers’ seat with three games in hand and a big weekend sweep of the Soaring Eagles. Seven of the Cardinals’ eight games will be against West foes, and and five against teams with a combined record of 9-19-1. Utica College, which will visit Stafford Arena Feb. 2-3, is the only West rival left with a winning record (6-3-1).

Kevin Houle’s Cardinals, who are ranked No. 1 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll for the seventh week in a row, will face their only non-conference battle on Jan. 30 when Middlebury comes to town. The Panthers, ranked fifth at 10-2-2, perhaps pose the biggest challenge to the Cardinals from now to the finish.

Bob Emery’s Cardinals, who defeated Morrisville State, 4-1, on Friday, stayed No.9 in the latest men’s Div. III rankings. They will host North Country neighbor Potsdam on Friday before venturing to Buffalo and Fredonia for their final road tests of the season.

The sky’s the limit for the enigmatic Cardinals who can look like world-beaters one night and also-rans the next. If anything, they know how keep up the interest.

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