PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — The Hobart Statesmen and Plattsburgh Cardinals battled through a defensive game, before the Cardinals blew it open late in the third period for a 5-2 win.
Good, solid defense by both Plattsburgh and Hobart led to end-to-end action in the first period. Neither team managed a shot on net until Hobart broke with the first shot 4:13 into the game.
But it was Plattsburgh that opened the scoring at 4:15. Brendon Hodge passed from in the corner to linemate Rob Retter standing on the doorstep of the Statesman net. Retter tapped in the pass to give the Cardinals the 1-0 lead.
Hobart evened the score at 10:17 when Matt Pane scored from in close. Hobart had been crashing the Cardinal net for several shifts and the work finally paid off.
Both teams had power plays early in the second period, but the tight defensive play stymied them and neither team got any shots on goal. As a matter of fact, the first shot on goal once again didn’t come until well in to the period, 6:30 to be exact, when Hobart put a shot on net after a 2-on-1 break.
The defenses of both teams ruled during the second period and neither team tallied a goal. Play started to open up in the waning moments of the period, though, as more odd-man rushes took off.
“Hobart played unbelievable defense for two-and-a-half periods,” said Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery.
The Statesmen took the early momentum in the third period, getting four quick shots on the Cardinal net in the first two minutes.
The Statesman played very disciplined hockey all night, both by staying out of the penalty box and defensively in their own zone.
“I thought the boys stuck with the program right to the end,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “We had our lapses at times, but they never folded the tents.”
Hobart took the lead 4:45 into the third period with a power-play tally. Matt Daley sent a slap shot from the point towards the net, and Chris Doolan redirected the shot in for the goal.
The pace of the game reached feverish pitch as Plattsburgh played desperation hockey to try and tie the game. And the Cardinals did tie the game up at 12:27. Brian Toussaint passed across the slot to Mark Coletta, who was waiting on the doorstep. Coletta tapped the puck into the net to knot the game at 2.
This swung the momentum strongly to the Cardinals, who just swarmed in the Hobart zone. Coletta came through again at 16:46 to give Plattsburgh the 3-2 lead. He took the shot while skating through the left faceoff circle. Hobart netminder Chris Connolly made the save but Coletta gathered in his own rebound as he crashed the net and curled the puck in the net for the goal.
Brian Toussaint added an insurance goal at 17:49. Jason Kilcan had the puck in the corner and passed to Toussaint near the dot in the right faceoff circle. Toussaint rooked the puck over Connolly’s shoulder for the tally.
Hobart pulled its goalie with 1:04 remaining but Plattsburgh scored the empty-net goal with just 1.4 seconds left to seal the 5-2 win.