Compiled by D3hockey.com Staff
|Norwich prevailed over Plattsburgh on Wednesday night.
Photo: Gabe Dickens, Plattsburgh State
Plattsburgh, NY - As the Plattsburgh Cardinals chase a fifth straight national championship, the nation's current No. 1 team will again have to do it with at least one loss on their record. In a battle of the top two teams in the D3hockey.com Women's Top 10 poll, the No. 2 Norwich Cadets (4-0-1) were able to prevail over their North Country rivals for the first time since 2012 as a 2-1 third period advantage and three points from Sophie McGovern powered Norwich over Plattsburgh by a 4-3 score at Plattsburgh State's Stafford Arena.
The win for Norwich was their first in their last fourteen tries since defeating the Cardinals by an 8-7 score in February of 2012, and came in their first meeting after Plattsburgh eliminated Norwich in the semifinal round of last year's NCAA tournament.
The Cadets wasted little time establishing leverage through the opening 20 minutes, outshooting their hosts by a 16-6 count on the board, and an early breakthrough helped their case for controlling the course of play in an evenly scored 2-2 period. The Cadets drew first blood on the opening shift with sophomore forward Sophie McGovern potted a rebound after Bryn Labbe put the wheels in motion with the initial shot, and a brief swipe on the puck by Amanda Conway put it on the tape of McGovern for the finish.
Plattsburgh answered the bell with opportunistic quick strike offense to grab a 2-1 lead in the next 3:30. Senior forward Kayla Meneghin squared the score by whacking in a trickling back door feed after a rebound was gathered in by Ashley Songin. The goal was the 72nd of Meneghin's career. Plattsburgh then grabbed hold of the lead 1:09 later when Courtney Moriarty unleashed a low rip from the faceoff circle that tracked through the legs of Cadet goaltender Laurie King.
The only Plattsburgh lead of the evening lasted just a minute and nine seconds. That's all it took for Norwich's Muranda Toews to pull the Cadets back even at two. Opportunity knocked again immediately following the equalizer, as Plattsburgh's Hannah Kiraly was sent off for slashing before the ensuing faceoff. The Cardinal penalty killers won the battle and no further action would result in changes to the scoreboard as the first period wrapped with a 2-2 score.
Plattsburgh would even the possession battle with the long change in the second. The Cardinals and Cadets held three combined power play opportunities, but neither team was able to crack the scoreboard in any situation for the period as a 2-2 score remained following a 13-11 shots on goal advantage for Plattsburgh in the middle twenty.
When the levee finally broke on the power play, the Cadets were the team to benefit just 17 seconds in to their first extra skater opportunity of the third period. Labbe notched her second assist of the game on a beautiful saucer pass to McGovern, who was waiting on the back side of the play to power it in for her second of the night and a 3-2 advantage at 3:57 of the third.
The lead would extend further when Conway stuffed a puck into the slot from behind the net, and it ricocheted off of a defender and in for the two goal lead. With time running short, the Cardinals would convert on a Conway hooking minor to slash the lead in half. Meneghin netted her second of the game on the left side post, assisted by Kiraly and Sheeran, to get the game back to one on the power play with 3:49 left. The Cardinals motioned Kassi Abbott to the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute, but the option was less palatable when Melissa Sheeran was ticketed for a five minute boarding call with 47 seconds left, and the Cardinals never recovered as they fell to just their third loss in the last three seasons.
McGovern finished with two goals and an assist, while Conway (1-2-3) and Labbe(0-2-2) each had multi-point games for the Cadets who also locked down the faceoff dot by a 37-20 margin. Meneghin finished the night with two goals on nine shots, and Sheeran has a Division III best fifteen points after adding a pair of assists. King stopped 35 of 38 to earn the win for Norwich.
The Cardinals will have nine days to reload before playing their next NEWHL series against Oswego on November 18th and 19th, and will entertain the Toronto Aeros in exhibition action on Saturday. The Cadets will attempt to cement a prospective claim to the top spot with NEHC games against Plymouth State and New England College. A rematch is scheduled on January 7th as part of the East-West Classic.