BY RICKY ST. CLAIR
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Following a three-point weekend, including a come-from-behind tie against No. 1 Norwich, the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team plays host to Chatham University at 4 p.m. today and tomorrow afternoon.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to play in front of the hometown fans, it’s always a confidence booster for our players,” Plattsburgh State head coach Kevin Houle said. “We had the exhibition game (versus Etobicoke) a couple of weeks ago, but it’s nice to open ECAC West play at the Field House.”
The No. 2 nationally-ranked Cardinals (1-0-1) defeated the Cougars 9-1 and 8-0 a season ago, but Houle emphasized the importance of the four points at stake.
“We can’t afford to let points slip away because it could potentially disallow us a chance at the regular season conference title and home-ice advantage,” Houle said. “(Chatham) is an improved team and we expect their best.”
The inaugural edition of last weekend’s East-West Showcase in Northfield, Vt., featured Plattsburgh State grabbing a 2-1 victory over Manhattanville College Saturday afternoon before the 2-2 tie against Norwich Sunday. Two of the three goals allowed occurred in the final minute of a period.
“You try to avoid giving a team any momentum going into the ensuing period,” Houle said. “The goal we allowed to Manhattanville with 12-seconds remaining in regulation is something we’d like to avoid in the future. We need to protect the one-goal leads and not have to weather a storm late in games.”
The Cardinals are led offensively by senior captain Teal Gove (2-0-2) and Jenny Kistner (1-2-3), who were both named to the East-West All-Tournament team for Plattsburgh. Goaltender Sydney Aveson was honored with the Most Valuable Player award after making 40 saves on 43 shots on the weekend and boasts a .930 save percentage to go along with a 1.41 goals-against average.
Houle and his respective coaching staff had the opportunity to watch game film and reflect on the first two games of the regular season.
“We need to do a better job of getting to the net and capitalizing on rebound opportunities in front,” Houle said. “We’re not generating too much offense right now and it’s tough to rely on goals from the perimeter. We’re going to have a tough time winning games this season scoring two or three goals a game.”