Cardinal hockey

It hasn't taken Mark Constantine long to adjust to college hockey.

The Plattsburgh State freshman is tied for the team lead with three goals — he netted two in his first collegiate game and added another at Potsdam last week. The SUNY Athletic Conference recognized him as its men's hockey Rookie of the Week on Oct. 31.

"We knew when we recruited him he's a goal scorer — something you can't teach, goal scoring," Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery said. "He's a skilled guy, and I think he's only going to get better. And we're very fortunate to have him."

The fifth-ranked Cardinals (2-0) visit Fredonia tonight and will travel to Buffalo State on Saturday.

Constantine, a forward from Haddonfield, N.J., is listed at 5 feet, 7 inches and 155 pounds. That means he occasionally looks up to see a much bigger player coming at him.

"Speed and quickness is the only way I'll be able to handle the play. The guys are so much bigger than me, and I just gotta be faster than the bigger guys so I don't get hit, pretty much," he said. "Because it's never fun being crunched by a big guy."

Emery said Constantine also uses his head.

"Mark has decent speed, but I think what really separates him from everyone else is his knowledge of the game," he said. "He's a real smart hockey player. A lot of the goals he gets, he's in the right place at the right time because he knows he should be there."

Constantine has been skating with sophomore Daniel Cobb and freshman Jake Mooney. He's the only one of the Cardinals' 12 freshmen to tally a goal so far, and the only one with multiple points.

Constantine said college hockey is "a lot more intense" than prep hockey, but he's been able to make a pretty smooth transition.

"I was hoping to — to just be able to hop in," he said. "I'm still adjusting to things, obviously. It's early in the season. But it's been a pretty good beginning of the season for the whole team. So, hoping to keep it going."

He'll look to continue his goal streak tonight against the Blue Devils.

Fredonia (3-1-1, 1-1-1 SUNYAC) beat Morrisville 5-1 last week. Bryan Ross leads the Blue Devils with eight points in five games, and Brad Nunn is next with six points.

"They're always tough at home. The one good thing, it's a great atmosphere to play in," Emery said. "We're going to have to play good hockey to win."

Buffalo State (2-1, 2-1) opened with a loss to Geneseo but defeated Brockport and Morrisville in its last two games by a combined score of 15-3.

Email Courtney Lewis at: clewis@pressrepublican.com

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