PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — After a short night, Plattsburgh State regrouped from a 6-2 loss in Saturday’s SUNYAC Championship Game 2, and came out with a purpose in Game 3, controlling most of the game and defeating Potsdam State, 5-1. It was the fifth straight SUNYAC title for the Cardinals, and gave them an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
Plattsburgh used special teams to lead them to victory, going 2-for-10 on the power play and scoring two shorthanded goals. Niklas Sundberg made 30 saves for the win.
In a reverse of the night before, it was Potsdam that came out hot, but Sundberg made some key saves. Plattsburgh then took control of the period, carrying play most of the way. Only the exploits of Ryan Venturelli in net prevented Plattsburgh from getting a goal until the 17:11 mark.
Peter Ollari threw it towards the net with the intention of having Ryan Wilson tip it. Wilson didn’t miss out on the opportunity, and Venturelli had no chance at it.
The second period was more of the same — Plattsburgh taking it to Potsdam, but Venturelli single-handedly holding them off. The second period slowly degenerated into a penalty box parade, but Plattsburgh didn’t mind, as it scored a power-play and shorthanded goal.
The extra-attacker goal came at the 9:41 mark when Brendon Hodge made a great move to start the attack, which eventually ended in a Shawn Banks goal.
A few minutes later, at 12:56, Derrick Shaw went in on a breakaway while the Cards were skating a man down, beating Venturelli down low to give Plattsburgh a 3-1 lead.
Shortly afterwards, a big scuffle broke out resulting in multiple penalties, including one to Potsdam’s Nick Eagan. The penalty, a five minute major for fighting and a game misconduct, ended his collegiate career.
Potsdam’s Sean Darke was able to give the Bears some hope when he scored at 17:06 with Dave Weagle getting the assist.
But the Cardinals put the game away at 11:25 of the third period when Jason Kilcan scored a power-play goal, assisted by Shaw and Hodge.
Shaw finished things off with his second of the night and the second shorthanded goal for Plattsburgh.
The game got a bit ugly near the end when Potsdam’s Brett Joly ended his career with a five-minute major for spearing and a game disqualification. All told, 92 penalty minutes were called in the game, with Potsdam getting 56 of them.
Derrick Shaw was named tournament MVP. He joined teammates Ollari, Hodge, and Sundberg on the All-Tournament Team. Weagle and Darke were selected from Potsdam.
Potsdam ends its season with a record of 20-8-3, its best ever in total wins and win percentage.
Plattsburgh continues its season in the first round of the NCAA tournament, starting next Friday at Middlebury. The Cardinals will face the Panthers, winners of the NESCAC tournament, in the best-of-two-plus-minigame series.