Courtesy Plattsburgh Sports Information
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Winning a national championship is easier said than done. Winning three straight national championships is something only a few individuals can say they’ve accomplished. That Plattsburgh State women’s ice hockey team can now be sorted into the category of dynasties after claiming its third straight NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey National Championship after a 5-1 victory over the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Saturday night at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.
Plattsburgh State joins Middlebury College as the only NCAA Division III institution to win three consecutive national championships. Four seniors and five juniors have been on the women’s ice hockey team for all three championships.
The first period featured exciting back and forth action with few stoppages. UW-River Falls would jump out to a 1-0 advantage just past the halfway mark. After a shot by a Chloe Kinsel hit the post, Carly Moran gathered up the rebound and sent a backhanded shot past Cardinal goalie Camille Leonard.
Following several penalties, which resulted in a Plattsburgh State 4-on-3 power play, the Cardinals would knot the game at one goal apiece. Sophomore Melissa Sheeran found junior forward Jordan Lipson, who had skated in front of the net. The Davis, Calif., native buried one past Falcon goaltender Angie Hall.
The Cardinals kept up the pressure and struck for another goal with 1:51 left in the first. After a long possession in the offensive zone, which was prolonged thanks to a strong Plattsburgh State forecheck, Sheeran would finish off a beautiful sequence. Kayla Meneghin cycled the puck down low to Giovanna Senese, who circled around the net and found Sheeran unmarked in front of the net for the easy tally.
Plattsburgh State outshot UW-River Falls by a 15-6 margin in the first period.
For the second straight game, the Cardinals completely owned the middle frame. At 12:20, Plattsburgh State struck for its first two-goal lead. After the puck was sent along the far boards behind the net, Karen Hudson sent a blind backhanded pass in front, where Ashley Songin, was positioned at the left post. The Springville, N.Y., product clapped the puck past Hall for her fifth goal of the season, giving Plattsburgh State a 3-1 lead.
Last years’ NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player Giovanna Senese capped the scoring in the second period for the Cardinals with 1:23 left. Melissa Sheeran would fake one defender and skate from behind the cage out front before sliding the puck across the goal mouth to Senese, who hit the unguarded side of the net with a backhanded shot.
Through two periods, Plattsburgh State had outshot UW-River Falls 28-12 and despite giving up the first goal of the game, led the Falcons 4-1 heading to the third period.
Just over six minutes into the third, junior Katelyn Turk posted just her second goal of the season to make the score 5-1 in favor of Plattsburgh State. After the puck was deflected in the air just outside the crease, Turk would chip at it several times, eventually getting it past the goal line.
The Cardinals close out the year with a 29-1-0 record, their best record in program history.
UW-River Falls, after coming in third place a season ago, takes another step forward as the national runner up in 2015-16. The Falcons close out their season with a 23-6-2 record.
Plattsburgh State adds its lead in national championships with its fifth in the program’s existence.