January 29, 2013

PSU traveling in elite crowd

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State women remain one of only three teams unbeaten in college hockey this season.

The Cardinals are 18-0-1 and atop the U.S. College Hockey Online Division III poll for the eighth week in a row. Gustavus Adolphus out of Minnesota is 16-0-0 and right behind Plattsburgh in the D-3 chase.

The only other collegiate team with an unblemished record in hockey is Div. I power, the University of Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are 26-0-0 and the top-ranked women’s team in the land.

Kevin Houle’s Cardinals can’t be concerned with the possibility of an undefeated season — not with the Middlebury College Panthers invading Stafford Arena on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. faceoff. The Panthers are 12-2-2 and currently ranked fifth in Div. III.

Plattsburgh and Middlebury met for the championship of the Cardinal/Panther Classic in December in Vermont with the Cardinals coming out on top 3-2. Plattsburgh let a 2-0 lead slip away in that one with Emma Rutherford’s goal at 11:50 of the third sending the Cardinals on to the victory.

Goaltender Sydney Aveson saved the Cardinals and earned most valuable player honors for the tournament. Middlebury held a 31-18 advantage in shots, but was oh-for-six on the power play.

Plattsburgh has not beaten Middlebury at home since Jan. 3, 2011 in the third-place game of the Pepsi/Cardinal Classic. The Cardinals won 5-0.

Last year, the two team met only once at Stafford and the Panthers pinned a 4-1 loss on Plattsburgh in the consolation of the Cardinal/Panther Classic. However, the Cardinals gained a tie (4-4) and a win (4-2) at Middlebury last season.

Wednesday’s game is the first of five consecutive road tests for Middlebury, who have two games left with Williams and also contests with Norwich and Elmira.

Plattsburgh State opens a three-game homestand Wednesday with two games this weekend against Utica College. The Cardinals then close out the campaign at SUNY Potsdam (Feb. 10) and Neumann University (Feb. 16-17).

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