Plattsburgh welcomes tough opponents for weekend tourney

Plattsburgh State's Erin McArdle handles the puck and looks to pass ahead during a Northeast Women's Hockey League game against Morrisville on Saturday at Stafford Ice Arena. (Joey LaFranca/Staff Photo)

PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team is riding high into the Cardinal/Panther Classic tournament this weekend.

The Cardinals are 6-0 on the season, most recently sweeping a back-to-back home series against Morrisville last weekend.

The start has helped earn the team its 23rd consecutive No. 1 ranking in USCHO.com’s national Division III poll.

The powerhouse Plattsburgh squad will get its first big test of the season in the upcoming tournament, facing opponents all also ranked in the poll’s top 10.

Lilla Nease became the second goaltender to earn Northeast Women’s Hockey League Goalie of the Week honors this season, earning her second shutout of the season in a 9-0 win over Morrisville last Saturday. Fellow Cardinal Ashley Davis had won the honor the previous two weeks.

Right winger Ivy Boric repeated for NEWHL Player of the Week Honors, netting three goals and dishing three assists between the two blowout Plattsburgh wins over the Mustangs. Her 16 points on the season leads the team.

Captain Annie Katonka has stepped into a familiar role, leading the team with eight goals.

Davis, a senior, has continued her steady presence in net this season, winning all four of her starts with a .977 save percentage.

The Cardinals will start the weekend with a tilt against Endicott College, a team that nearly prematurely ended Plattsburgh’s last championship run in 2019, on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Middlebury Panthers will face off against the Elmira Soaring Eagles later that night, with the winners and losers of each game facing off the next day in the championship and consolation games, respectively.

“All teams are ranked here,” Plattsburgh head coach Kevin Houle said following the team’s 9-0 win last Saturday. “We play well at home, and we play well against top opponents, so we’re definitely looking forward to it.”

ENDICOTT COLLEGE

The No. 9 ranked Gulls come into the tournament with a 6-1-0 record, good enough for the first place spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Senior forward Courtney Sullivan currently leads Endicott in goals scored with seven, while junior Kat Keith’s four goals and five assists are good for a team-leading nine points.

Junior goaltenders Michaela O’Brien and Bailey Thieben have split the load for the Gulls, with O’Brien sporting a 4-0 record and .971 save percentage, while Thieben’s .935 save percentage has helped the team to a 2-1 record with her in nets.

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE

The No. 2 ranked Panthers always give Plattsburgh a hard time and will be looking to do the same should the two teams meet in the tournament.

Middlebury’s 2-0 record currently has it in a four-way tie for first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

Madie Leidt’s three goals and one assist give her the team lead in goals and points on the season.

Goalies Sophia Merageas and Caroline Silk have evenly split the small workload so far, both posting shutouts in their respective starts.

ELMIRA COLLEGE

The No. 5 ranked Soaring Eagles fly into the weekend on a stellar 7-0 record, good for first in the New England Hockey Conference.

Captain Eliza Beaudin and Emma Crocker each have five goals on the season to tie for the team lead, while Beaudin’s 12 points give her the sole lead in that category.

Morgan Mordini’s three goals and eight assists have her just behind Beaudin for the points lead.

Goaltenders Alayna Breivogel and Maggie Gilman both sport 1.000 save percentages in limited action thus far, while Leonie-Louise Kuehberger has carried most of the load up to now, winning all five games she has started with a .970 save percentage.

Email Ben Watson:

bwatson@pressrepublican.

Twitter: @BenWatsonPR

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