Courtesy Plattsburgh Sports Information
ADRIAN, Mich. — Plattsburgh State women’s ice hockey senior Erin Brand (Lomg Beach, N.Y./Syracuse) scored 10:34 into overtime as the the top-ranked Cardinals captured their fourth straight – sixth overall – NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey national championship with a 4-3 win over No. 2 Adrian College. The Cardinals end the season at 28-1-1 and on a 22-game unbeaten streak, while the Bulldogs see their season end at 28-3.
This was just the second title game to go into overtime, with the other coming in the 2009 final tilt. Plattsburgh State also beats Adrian for the second time in overtime. Back in January, the Cardinals topped the Bulldogs by a 4-3 margin in the extra session.
Brand, senior Julia Duquette (North Tonawanda, N.Y./Buffalo Bisons U-19), junior Melissa Sheeran(Schaghticoke, N.Y./Millbrook School) and sophomore Courtney Moriarty (Estero, Fla./Northfield Mount Hermon) each scored. Junior Megan Crandell (Fullerton, Calif./Saint Norbert) provided three assists, while classmates Kayla Meneghin (Clifton, N.J./The Gunnery) and Lizzy Viola (Williamsville, N.Y./Buffalo Bisons U-19) and sophomore Mackenzie Millen (Anchorage, Alaska/North American Hockey Academy) each had one helper. Senior Camille Leonard (Oakville, Ontario/Oakville Jr. Hornets) collected 29 saves for the win. Brand was selected as the NCAA Championship All-Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, with Leonard and Sheeran joining on the team.
Adrian sophomore Brooke Lupi had one goal and one assist, while senior Sarah Shureb and freshman Maggie Mitter scored. Senior Kaylyn Schroka dished two assists and classmate Brooke Gibson totaled 39 saves.
The excitement started in the final minute of regulation. With the Cardinals skating short handed and with Leonard on her way to the bench for the extra attacker, Duquette picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated past a Bulldog defender before wristing a shot into the right side with 21.7 seconds remaining to tie.
That set the stage for sudden-victory overtime. Plattsburgh State had 11 shots compared to Adrian’s five. Crandell was on the top of the right circle and fed cross ice to Brand, who deked past a defender before firing a shot through Gibson’s legs for the winner.
Plattsburgh State led shots, 10-4, during a scoreless opening period. Cardinal sophomore Ashley Songin (Springville, N.Y./Nichols School) needed just seven seconds to test Gibson by snapping a right circle shot. On the team’s first power-play chance, Brand rang a shot off the left post. Another Bulldog penalty just two minutes later gave the Cardinals another player-advantage chance and freshman Hannah Kiraly (Newport Beach, Calif./Northern Cyclones) backhanded a shot that Gibson covered. Adrian’s best chance of the stanza came with 5:31 remaining as junior Rose Krasofsky shot wristed a right circle shot that Leonard swatted away and the rebound kicked to a Bulldog skater, who had an open left side of the net but the ensuing shot went wide.
The second period flipped with Adrian leading shots, 15-9. Plattsburgh State was also penalized seven times, while Adrian took two penalties. Just 2:44 into the period, Adrian sophomore Shelly Czarnowczan clanged a shot off the right post. Leonard came up with a big blocker stop at 8:10 off of senior Courtney Tyll’s mid-slot shot. The Cardinals were able to kill of a 5-on-3 penalty starting at 13:27 as Leonard stopped four shots. Plattsburgh State broke onto the board with two minutes left as Crandell’s stretch pass connected with Meneghin, who fed over to Sheeran and Sheeran deked once before backhanding an ice-level power-play shot inside the right post. Adrian equalized just 53 seconds later while on the power play as Lupi’s point shot was redirected just under the crossbar.
Moriarty broke the stalemate at 5:23 of the third stanza by taking Millen’s pass and backhanding a shot through Gibson’s legs. Mitter knotted up the score at 10:31 by burying the puck in a scramble in front of the net. Sherub put the Bulldogs on top, 3-2, at 15:08 when her right circle shot tickled the top right corner.