Plattsburgh State men's hockey prepped for pair of non-league tilts

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men's hockey team is getting healthier.

At least for the time being.

As of Wednesday, head coach Steve Moffat was expecting the Cardinals to have only a couple of players on the inactive list this weekend when Plattsburgh State plays two non-league games at the Stafford Ice Arena.

The Cardinals (8-5-2) host Middlebury College Friday at 7 p.m. and then Rivier University on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“We're hoping to have all but two players back and that's good,” Moffat said. “I don't think we have had any games this season where we have had everyone of the roster available to play.

“We've been close at times.”

The Cardinals were hit with a rash of injuries the last couple of weeks before the semester break and COVID issues came into play when the team returned for the second semester.

As a result, the coaching staff has had some mixing and matching to do.

“Every time we settle on a line, we seem to get an injury or illness,” Moffat said. “It's literally been day-to-day to see who we have available to play. Injuries are part of the game, but now COVID is at the forefront.”

Plattsburgh State split two games last weekend when it hosted the W.B. Mason Winter Classic to open the second half of the season. The Cardinals dropped a 6-4 decision last Friday to Albertus Magnus before bouncing back for an 8-2 victory over King's College on Sunday.

“The guys are ready to go this weekend,” Moffat said. “We gave them Monday off and we had a good practice on Tuesday.”

Middlebury (1-7), a former powerhouse in Division III hockey, is a longtime rival of the Cardinals.

The Panthers, who dropped a 6-3 decision at home to Amherst College on Tuesday, have had their share of postponements this season due to COVID.

In fact, Middlebury hosted the annual FirstLight Great Northern Shootout late in November at Kenyon Arena and was unable to take part, leaving it as a three-team field.

“Anytime we play Middlebury, it's a fun game,” Moffat said. “We've had a good rivalry with them the last 25 years.

“It will be a good test for us. They have had some COVID issues of their own and have lost some close games.”

Rivier University, which is from Nashua, N.H., has a 4-8-2 overall record and is coming off a 3-3 tie with Western New England.

This weekend ends a four-game homestand for the Cardinals, who return to SUNYAC play on the road the following weekend with huge games at Cortland and Oswego.

Following that weekend, the Cardinals have six conference contests remaining, with five of them at home.

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