Compiled by D3hockey.com staff --
ADRIAN, Mich. -- Plattsburgh State's quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive national title is alive and well as superb penalty killing and unrelenting offensive pressure helped pave the way to a 4-0 win over Norwich in a NCAA semifinal at Arrington Ice Arena on Friday afternoon.
The win advances Plattsburgh (27-1-1) to Saturday's national championship game, where it will face Adrian, which was a 3-2 (ot) winner over Gustavus Adolphus in the second semifinal.
Special teams played a prominent role in the contest as Plattsburgh and Norwich combined for 14 penalties, but the special teams battle was won by the Cardinals as they tallied twice on the power play while holding Norwich scoreless on all six of its chances with the extra skater.
Plattsburgh nearly took the lead in the opening few minutes when Melissa Sheeran rang a shot off the post, but shortly after the Cardinals successfully killed their first penalty of the game, Sheeran made her next chance count when, while on the power play, a loose puck deflected right to her in the low left shot and she beat Norwich goaltender Laurie King to make it 1-0 Plattsburgh at the 9:25 mark of the first period.
Plattsburgh carried its 1-0 lead into the first intermission, and also carried a commanding 13-3 shot advantage in the period.
After the teams traded off a string of five scoreless power plays to open the second period, number six proved to be a lucky one for Plattsburgh when Erin Brand beat King top shelf with a wrister from the top of the left circle to make it 2-0 Cardinals at the 13:47 mark of the period.
Just four seconds after Plattsburgh killed off another penalty, and with just nine seconds remaining in the period, the Cardinals delivered what might have been the dagger when Ashley Songin forced a turnover deep in the Norwich zone and fired a centering pass to Kayla Meneghin, who beat King to make it 3-0 Cardinals.
Plattsburgh rolled up 22 shots in the second period, thanks in large part to stifling pressure in the neutral zone that offered Norwich limited chances to get much sustained offense going, and that trend continued in the third as the Cardinals piled up 17 more shots en route to a 51-20 advantage on the afternoon.
Brand netted her second of the game at the 3:48 mark of the third to make it 4-0 Plattsburgh and all but ice the game as Norwich was never able to sustain enough offensive pressure to mount a serious comeback.
Not to be lost in the headline of the Plattsburgh win was the play of King, who finished with a career-high 47 saves for Norwich and made an abundance of high-quality saves. Norwich closes out its season at 23-6-1, which marks the eighth consecutive year the Cadets have notched 20 or more wins.
For Plattsburgh, goaltender Camille Leonard finished with 20 saves to score her seventh shutout of the season. Brand and Sheehan both tallied an assist to go with their goals, while Megan Crandell added a pair of assists.