Courtesy Norwich Sports Information
NORTHFIELD – After finally cracking through and beating Plattsburgh State for the first time in 13 tries, the Cardinals returned to their role as the Norwich University women’s ice hockey team’s arch-nemesis on Sunday afternoon.
No. 3-ranked Plattsburgh State (10-2-0) scored the first three goals of the game and then held on over the final 10 minutes to down the Cadets 3-2 in the opening game of the 2018 East-West Hockey Classic.
No. 1-ranked Norwich (11-1-1) had its 12-game unbeaten streak to start the season snapped with the loss, which was its best start the 11-year history of the program.
Plattsburgh State’s Meghan Kraus scored twice to lead the Cardinals’ offense, while Kassi Abbott made 19 saves in goal.
Kraus gave Plattsburgh State the lead just 1:10 into the game, capitalizing on a NU turnover in its own defensive zone to come in all alone and she deked out Laurie King (Waddington, N.Y.) before slipping it past the Cadet goalie on her forehand.
Plattsburgh State extended the lead to 2-0 at the 8:04 mark of the second period with Baye Flanagan scoring her first goal in a Cardinal uniform in her first game after transferring in at the break from Division I Merrimack. Hannah Kiraly and Kayla Menghin picked up the assists on the goal.
Flanagan took a pass from Kiraly at the point and then flung a wrist shot at the net that found its way through traffic and just inside the right goal post.
Kraus notched her fourth of the season and second of the game at the 9:22 mark of the third period with an assist from Melissa Sheeran.
Norwich finally got on the board at the 11:02 mark of the third period with sophomore forward Amanda Conway (Methuen, Mass.) scoring her team-leading 12th goal of the season off assists from Sophie McGovern (Hermantown, Minn.) and Bryn Labbe (Calgary, Alberta).
Conway scored on a rebound on a scrum in front of the net after McGovern sent a shot toward the net and Conway potted it home on the weak side.
The Cadets cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 16:59 mark of the third period with Samantha Benoit (Bow, N.H.) scoring her second of the season on a 5-on-3 power play advantage. Benoit back handed the puck from the top of the goal crease on a scrum in front after an initial save was made on Alyssa Hulst’s (Scarborough, Maine) shot. Sarah Schweznfeier (Hingham, Mass.) picked up the second assist on the goal.
Norwich fought valiantly over the final three minutes, but the Cadets were unable to find the equalizer.
King made 23 saves to fall to 9-1-1 on the season. Abbott improved to 7-1-0 on the year.
Plattsburgh outshot Norwich 26-19 in the game. Each team was whistled for six penalties. Norwich went 2-for-6 on the power play, while Plattsburgh was 1-for-6.
Norwich will look to rebound in the consolation game on Monday at 1 p.m. in Kreitzberg Arena when the Cadets face Adrian College for the first time in program history. Adrian fell 5-1 to Elmira College on Sunday in the second semifinal game. Plattsburgh will face Elmira at 4 p.m. in the championship.