PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men's hockey team is stepping out of conference play for the first time this season.
The Cardinals will also need to step up their game when they host the 22nd annual PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout today and Saturday at Stafford Ice Arena.
Defending PrimeLink champion Norwich (7-0-0), Wisconsin-Eau Claire (6-0-1) and Middlebury (3-1-0) will join Plattsburgh State (3-3-1) in the four-team field.
The three visiting teams have combined for a 16-1-1 overall record thus far, with Norwich currently ranked No. 1 in the country in Division III, Eau Claire at No. 3 and Middlebury, honorable mention. The Cadets defeated the Panthers, 5-1, in last year's PrimeLink final.
Today's opening round has rivals Norwich and Middlebury going at it at 4 p.m., followed by Eau Claire against Plattsburgh State at 7 p.m. The third-place game and championship are scheduled for 4 and 7 p.m., respectably, on Saturday.
“The PrimeLink is the premier Division III tournament in the country,” Plattsburgh State coach Steve Moffat said. “It's a stellar field filled with great teams. Norwich and Eau Claire are both unbeaten, and Middlebury is very good.
“It will be an exciting weekend for North Country hockey fans.”
The Cardinals enter the weekend unbeaten (3-0-1) in their last four games.
Plattsburgh State, however, has yet to put together all facets of its game over 60 minutes. The Cardinals, last Friday, broke loose offensively with seven goals, but had several defensive breakdowns in a 7-5 home win over Potsdam.
“We will look at the video of the game and learn from it,” Moffat said, following the game.
The Cardinals have compiled their 3-3-1 record all in State University of New York Athletic Conference play...junior forward Liam Lawson (3-2-5) leads the team with five points, while Brendan Young, Philip Middleton, Joe Drabin, Adam Tretowicz and Ryan Kuhn have four apiece...junior Jimmy Poreda has been solid in net with a 2.13 goals-against-average and a very good .926 save percentage.
The Blugolds have outscored their opponents, 26-9, thus far and have recorded one shutout...no opponent has scored more than two goals in a game against Eau Claire...last weekend, the Wisconsin team went on the road while recording a 3-2 overtime win at Wisconsin-Superior and a 4-1 decision at Wisconsin-Stout...sophomore Andrew McGlynn (1-7-8) and senior Jake Bresser (5-2-7) are the team's leading scorers...junior Zach Dyment has a 5-0-1 record and 1.14 gaa in net.
The Cadets posted shutouts in five of their first six games and have outscored their opponents by a 23-4 margin to date...last weekend at home, Norwich skated to a 2-0 victory over Babson and a 5-3 decision over UMass-Boston...prior to their win over UMass-Boston, the Cadets had outscored opponents, 18-1...leading scorers are junior Felix Brassard (8-4-12) and sophomore Maxime Borduas (4-5-9)...senior Tom Aubrun has been outstanding in net with a 7-0 record and 0.57 gaa.
The Panthers recorded road wins at Tufts (2-1) and Connecticut College (5-2) a weekend ago and have outscored their opponents, 14-9...sophomore defenseman Conor Breen (2-2-4), freshman forward Antoine Belisle (2-2-4) and senior forward Owen Powers (1-3) lead the team with four points apiece...sophomore Adam Wisco (2-0, 1.01 gaa) and senior Brian Ketchabaw (1-1, 3.01 gaa) have shared the goaltending.