PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team opened up their quest to defend their 2014 NCAA Division III Women’s National Championship with a rematch of last year’s title game against Norwich. Plattsburgh State punched its second straight ticket to the national finals by defeating the Cadets 5-2 at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena.
The Cardinals got on the board first with an Alyssa Parke power play goal 2:42 into the game. The goal was setup by Bridget Balisy who cycled the puck to Giovanna Sense. Senese then slung the puck back to the top to Parke who was camped in the top of the slot. The 2015 first-team All-American then ripped a slap shot clean through the Norwich and past Cadet goaltender Celeste Robert.
Plattsburgh State was not done as they tallied four-straight goals on Norwich with two in the first and two in the second.
Kayla Meneghin would score her first of two on the day, a short-handed marker 12:14 into the first period. The freshman from Clifton, N.J. joined an odd man rush with Jordan Lipson. Lipson slid the puck cross ice setting up Meneghin who lifted over Robert shoulder short-side.
It was a bit of a strange time in the Stafford Ice Arena as the goal light went on but play continued for several seconds. At the next whistle the officials came together to talk it over before rewarding the Cardinals with the goal.
The second period was more of the same as Plattsburgh State came out with another quick strike just 36 seconds in.
Parke sent another blast towards the net from her point position. The puck careened off the boards to the right of the net, bouncing right to Melissa Sheeran who tapped it in before Robert could slide over in time.
Junior Bridget Balisy would make it 4-0 Cardinals when she sniped one past Robert on a beautiful pass from Lipson.
This would mark the end of Robert’s night as she was lifted for Laurie King.
Again, Lipson setup her teammate on a 2-1 rush sliding one across the slot to Balisy who finished it off with her 19 goal of the season.
However, the Cadets would not go down quietly, especially senior forward Kaycie Anderson.
Anderson would score a 5-3 power play goal to get Norwich on the goal. She collected the puck off of several rebounds before finally being able to beat Cardinals goaltender Camille Leonard.
The Maple Plain, Minn., native would strike again in the beginning of the third period to make it 4-2 and give the Cadets a little momentum headed down the final stretch.
But it would not be enough as Plattsburgh State would weather Anderson’s – and the Cadets – offensive attack before salting the game away with Meneghin’s second of the game provided by the empty net with just 12 seconds left.
Cardinals’ goaltender Leonard finished the evening with 22 saves on 24 shots. Robert picked up the loss after allowing the first four goals. King would make all nine saves she faced in 31:17 minutes of action.
With the win Plattsburgh State moves to 25-2-2 on the season and moves to their second-straight NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey National Championship Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Norwich falls to the Cardinals for the second-straight time this season. They will play in the third-place game on Saturday at 3:30.
The winner of Saturday night’s matchup between UW-River Falls and Elmira College will face the Cardinals in the National Championship game while the other team will play Norwich in the third-place game.