PLATTSBURGH, NY -- The Williams Ephs (7-5-2, 4-2-2 NESCAC) lost a hard fought battle to the Plattsburgh State Cardinals (8-8, 3-4 SUNYAC) 3-1 tonight in the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. While goaltender Stephen Morrissey made 33 saves, the Eph offense was unable to generate their normal success, scoring just one goal despite their 3.45 goals per game average.
The Ephs came into this match 7-4-2, 4-2-2 in the conference. Williams defeated Manhattanville on the road 4-0 yesterday.
The Cardinals came into this match 7-8 overall, and 3-4 in their conference. Plattsburgh defeated Middlebury yesterday at home 5-2.
"Overall I thought it was a pretty good game," commented Williams head coach Bill Kangas. "Plattsburgh scored to take the lead with around a minute left. This was a tough week for us, three hard matches in a row, so I viewed this game as us finishing strong on the week. Despite the result, we did some good things out there."
In net for the Ephs tonight was junior Stephen Morrissey, making his fourth consecutive start for the Ephs. Morrissey came into this match after a shutout against Manhattanville yesterday, where he stopped all 25 shots faced. Morrissey came into this match with an intimidating save percentage of .976.
In net for Plattsburgh was senior Brady Rouleau, who came into this match with a .879 save percentage.
The first period was scoreless, but it did in fact set the tone of the game: a physical hard hitting match up. Five penalties were called in the first 20 minutes of play, though neither team was able to convert on the man advantage.
At 7:17 of the second period, the penalties begun again, the first being called on Eph freshman Peter Christie for hooking. Not long after that power play ended, concurrent penalties were called, one for Eph senior Sam Gray for hooking, and one for Cardinal freshman Evan Lindquist for slashing.
At 17:57 of the second period, Williams sophomore Roberto Cellini took a five minute major penalty for facemasking. At the same time, senior Tyler Young was called to the box for roughing, giving the Cardinals a 5-3 advantage for two minutes.
Plattsburgh took advantage of this power play opportunity, when at 19:52, sophomore Ross Sloan (second goal) was able to get one past Morrissey on a play assisted by freshmen Joe Drabin (sixth assist) and Charles Barber (seventh assist). This brought the game to 1-0 heading into the final period of play.
Plattsburgh went into the third period with 2:57 left on the 5-4 man advantage following Cellini's penalty.
"I thought we played well in the third period to come back from the one goal deficit," noted Kangas. "We also killed the end of that five minute major, after the 5-3 resulted in their goal, for a solid three minutes, which I think gave us some momentum into the third period to bring us to tie the game halfway through the period."
At 6:52 of the third period, Williams evened up the score at 1-1, when senior Sam Gray fired one off from the left wing circle, the puck avoiding the screen and finding the back of the net. Gray, with his first goal of the season, was assisted on the equalizer by senior Taylor Carmola (first assist) and junior C.J. Shugart (fourth assist).
At 7:33 Cardinal freshman Noah Batis was called to the penalty box for elbowing, however that power play opportunity proved to be fruitless for the Ephs.
At 18:50, on a broken play, Cardinal sophomore Nick Belger (third goal) was able to bank one off of Morrissey from behind the crease to secure the game winning goal for Plattsburgh State. Belger was assisted on the play by junior Matt Quilty (fourth assist) and sophomore Cam Owens (fourth assist). This brought the game to 2-1.
At 19:26 of the third period, after Morrissey had been pulled to gain the extra offensive player, junior Ayrton Valente scored an unassisted empty netter for his third goal of the season. The game ended with the score at 3-1.
Shot count at the end of the game was heavily in favor of Plattsburgh, 33-15.
Coach Kangas spoke to the team's position in the league and nationally with around half the season remaining: "The way we finished this last weekend and really competed in particular, shows us what we are capable of. What we need to address now is focusing on a next shift mentality."
"You look around the league and country in our division right now, and things are pretty wide open. So it is important for us to not look ahead or around us, but to stay focused on what we need to do, to look at ourselves every day and just try and get a little bit better. We need to continue to just address all of the little things, and have players look to get better as individuals."
The Ephs next face Bowdoin at home in Williamstown next Friday (Jan 20) at 7:00 PM EST. Plattsburgh State's next match is next Friday (Jan 20) at home against Morrisville State College at 7:00 PM EST.