Plattsburgh Makes It Five In A Row, Will Play Middlebury In NCAA Quarters
It’s becoming almost routine, but don’t tell that to Plattsburgh. The Cardinals won another SUNYAC championship, their fifth in a row and 15th overall last weekend. However, this one took Plattsburgh the longest to win as Potsdam stretched the series out to three games before the Cardinals finally put the Bears away in a rare Sunday-afternoon contest, two game to one.
Plattsburgh will once again represent the SUNYAC in the NCAA playoffs as it squares off against the Middlebury Panthers. These two teams met last year in the quarterfinals when the Cardinals ended Middlebury’s five-year reign as national champions. Then, the series was played in Plattsburgh. This time, Plattsburgh will have to cross Lake Champlain to pay a visit to Middlebury.
Championship Series Report
PLATTSBURGH DEFEATS POTSDAM, 2-1 — The series started and ended as most expected, with Plattsburgh controlling games one and three, 6-3 and 5-1. In between, Potsdam put a scare into Plattsburgh’s quest by winning game two, 6-2.
The first game saw the potent Plattsburgh power play turn the contest around. The Cardinals only had two power-play opportunities, but they made the most of them, scoring both times, turning a 2-1 deficit into a lead they would not relinquish.
After a scoreless first period, Brendon Hodge put Plattsburgh up. Joe Wlodarczyk and Nick Eagan scored within 25 seconds to put the Bears in front. Then, Plattsburgh scored their two power-play goals by Rob Retter and Hodge to end the second period ahead 3-2. Paul Dowe gave Plattsburgh a two-goal margin, but Wlodarczyk’s second goal would bring it back to one. Ryan Wilson scored an insurance goal, and Hodge’s empty-netter for a hat trick completed the scoring. Niklas Sundberg made 33 saves for the win.
Back to the wall, Potsdam responded with a convincing win. After Ryan Venturelli kept the Cardinals off the board early on, Potsdam’s offense took over, opening a 3-0 lead on goals by Mike Snow, Erick Curtis, and Jeff Milroy. Plattsburgh’s Jeff Hopkins got one back midway through the second. However, Sean Darke quickly responded with a breakaway goal, followed 57 seconds later by another breakaway goal by Brendon Knight.
The third period was a formality as the teams traded goals: Hodge scored, followed by Wlodarczyk. Venturelli made 25 saves in Potsdam’s first win in Stafford Arena since 1985.
Potsdam came out strong in the third game, but Sundberg kept them at bay. Plattsburgh was not to be denied, and they slowly took control of the game, eventually smothering the Bears. Wilson scored a late first-period goal to give Plattsburgh the lead. Shawn Banks scored a power-play goal in the second — then, the killer was tallied by Shaw, shorthanded.
Sean Darke would get one back for the Bears while on the power play, but by then Potsdam had come unraveled, committing a string of penalties. The third period saw Kilcan (power play) and Shaw (shorthanded empty-netter) score ceremonial goals. Sundberg made 30 saves.
Potsdam’s season came to an end, but not before a school record for most wins (20-8-3) and best winning percentage (.694). Plattsburgh takes its 25-5-0 record to Middlebury hoping to extend the season by four more games.
Previous SUNYAC Champions
1978 -- Plattsburgh 1985 -- Plattsburgh 1993 -- Plattsburgh
1979 -- Plattsburgh 1986 -- Geneseo 1994 -- Fredonia
1980 -- Oswego 1987 -- Plattsburgh 1995 -- Fredonia
1981 -- Oswego 1988 -- Plattsburgh 1996 -- Potsdam
1982 -- Oswego 1989 -- Oswego 1997 -- Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh 1990 -- Plattsburgh 1998 -- Plattsburgh
1983 -- Plattsburgh 1991 -- Oswego 1999 -- Plattsburgh
1984 -- Oswego 1992 -- Plattsburgh 2000 -- Plattsburgh
1978-1984: Championship determined by conference record
1985: Tournament play begins, top four teams qualify
1993: Two-game format with mini-game begins
1997: Three-game format for finals only begins
1998: Top six teams qualify, with byes to first two teams
2000-01 All-SUNYAC Team And Awards
FIRST TEAM Pos SECOND TEAM
Aaron Coleman Geneseo F Sean Darke Potsdam
Brendon Hodge Plattsburgh F Derek Kern Oswego
Jason Kilcan Plattsburgh F John Sullivan Oswego
Bryan Murray Plattsburgh D B.J. Bouschor Fredonia
Dave Weagle Potsdam D Kyle Langdon Geneseo
Will Hamele Fredonia G Niklas Sundberg Plattsburgh
Player Of The Year: Will Hamele, Fredonia
Rookie Of The Year: Mike Lukajic, Oswego
Coach Of The Year: Tim Vanini, Cortland