Women’s Hockey: Cards Edge Panthers 2-1 in Tournament Final

Courtesy Plattsburgh Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY – The top-ranked Plattsburgh State women’s ice hockey team held off a late Panthers charge to claim its sixth Panther/Cardinal Classic title by beating host No. 5 Middlebury College, 2-1, on Sunday at Chip Kenyon Arena. Plattsburgh State, which twice defeated top-5 teams this weekend, improves to 9-1, while Middlebury moves to 3-1. Plattsburgh State is tied with Elmira College atop the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) Division III national poll this week.

Junior Kayla Meneghin (Clifton, N.J./The Gunnery) and classmateMelissa Sheeran (Schaghticoke, N.Y./Millbrook School both logged one goal and one assist, with sophomore Ashley Songin (Springville, N.Y./Nichols School) also assisting once. Senior Camille Leonard (Oakville, Ontario/Oakville Jr. Hornets) stopped 24 shots in the win. Sheeran was named as the Classic’s most outstanding player, while Leonard and junior Megan Crandell (Fuller, Calif./Saint Norbert) were chosen for the all-tournament team.

Middlebury junior Maddie Winslow scored and senior Carly Watson and sophomore Jenna Marotta assisted. Freshman Lin Han recorded 13 saves. Juniors Elizabeth Wulf and Jessica Young landed on the all-tournament team.

Middlebury outshot Plattsburgh State, 7-4, in the opening period, but it was Plattsburgh State that owned a 1-0 lead. While possessing down in the Cardinals’ offensive end, Sheeran fed a pass from the left side to a crashing Meneghin, who deposited a low shot into the net just 56 seconds into play. Songin tried to add onto the lead at 3:25, but her right-circle bid rang off the crossbar. The Panthers then looked to have the equalizer on a power play midway through the stanza, but a ruled high stick washed out the would-be goal. Leonard ended the period with a glove stop on Middlebury junior Haley LaFontaine’s point shot.

The Cardinals stretched their lead to 2-0 after the second period, despite the Panthers once again owning the edge in shots. At 3:30, Middlebury junior Janka Hlinka saw her power-play bid from the top of the crease smothered by Leonard. Sheeran was rejected by Han on a 2-on-1 at 6:51, but Sheeran capitalized with a goal at 9:58 when she took the loose puck in the slot and deposited a shot inside the left post. Young was denied by Leonard’s right pad after darting up ice on a breakaway with two minutes remaining in the frame.

Middlebury gained an early 5-on-3 chance in the final period. After Leonard stopped two shots during the Cardinals’ penalty kill, the Panthers finally broke through with a Winslow power-play goal at 5:51 to make the game 2-1. Marotta connected with Watson on a D-to-D pass, with Watson shoveling down a left-side pass to Winslow, who fired a shot inside the left post. Later in the period, Meneghin raced out of the penalty box for a breakaway, but her low shot was kicked away by Han. Middlebury’s best chance to pull even came with 1:57 remaining as Leonard flashed the glove to rob Young, who was wide open in the slot. With the Middlebury net empty, the Panthers fired a trio of extra-player shots but Leonard stood firm in net.

Plattsburgh State wraps up its first-semester slate with a home contest against Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Women’s West counterpart SUNY Potsdam on Saturday at 4 p.m.