The second half of the season ramped up into full swing yesterday afternoon with top-ranked Plattsburgh and No. 5 Norwich doing battle at the Stafford Ice Arena. Both teams were playing their first games in a month and after Norwich was able to jump out to a 2-0 lead, Plattsburgh like the consumate No. 1-ranked team in the country they have proven to be all season, rallied to score four unanswered goals for a 4-2 victory.
The Cardinals finally solved Norwich goalie Kelly Fisk with 11 seconds left in the second period. Shannon Stewart pounced on a loose rebound off a scrum in front of the net, flipping the puck over Fisk who was laying on the ice trying to cover the puck for a whistle to cut Norwich’s lead to 2-1.
From that point on it was all Cardinals as Plattsburgh outshot Norwich 14-6 in the final frame as well as tacking on three goals to complete the comeback victory. Teal Gove got things started with a power play goal just 1:46 into the period and then Ali Vokos, a junior forward transfer from UConn made an immediate impact in her first game as Cardinal scoring the eventual game-winning goal with 6:29 left. She also assisted on Mia Favretto’s insurance tally just 51 seconds later to take the wind completely out of Norwich’s sails.
After watching yesterday’s game in person, Vokos adds another weapon to already loaded roster. She’s a small but speedy player with great hands as evidenced by her picturesque top shelf shot over the glove of Fisk for the game-winning goal.
Plattsburgh already was going to be an extremely tough out and the addition of Vokos will make it even tougher now. Between Kistner, Gove, Stewart, Rutherford, Era, Van Glahn, Vokos they’re as talented as anyone up front.
Back by popular demand for another year are my 20 bold predictions for the rest of the Division III women’s hockey season.
1. Plattsburgh’s Teal Gove leads the country in points.
2. One of Plattsburgh and Gustavus Adolphus finish the regular season undefeated.
3. Norwich’s Tori Charron leads the country in goals at the end of the regular season.
4. River Falls’ Chloe Kinsel leads the country in freshmen scoring.
5. Elmira’s Lauren Sullivan or Adrian’s Brittany Zeches equal or break Stevens Point’s Amy Statz’ single-season shutout record of 13.
6. Elmira gives up less goals than games it plays in the regular season.
7. River Falls doesn’t lose another game the rest of the regular season.
8. Plattsburgh’s Teal Gove, Amherst’s Geneva Lloyd, Manhattanville’s Katie Little, and Bethel’s Jess Newstrom are finalists for the Laura Hurd Award
9. Plattsburgh’s Teal Gove wins the Laura Hurd Award.
10. Plattsburgh’s Kevin Houle wins the AHCA Coach of the Year Award.
11. Stevenson finishes with a better record than Franklin Pierce out of the two first-year programs.
12. Hamilton makes NESCAC final four.
13. Bethel makes the MIAC Championship game.
14. Elmira wins the ECAC West Tournament.
15. Castleton makes the ECAC East Championship game.
16. Bowdoin makes the NESCAC Championship game.
17. Adrian wins the NCHA Tournament.
18. Plattsburgh, Gustavus Adolphus, Middlebury and Elmira make the Frozen Four.
19. Gustavus Adolphus wins a game at the Frozen Four.
20. Plattsburgh wins the national championship.
Those are the predictions! We’ll check back in mid-March to see how I faired.