HARTFORD, Conn. – The No. 12/12 Plattsburgh State men's ice hockey team's dream run came to an end on Saturday evening at the Koeppel Community Sports Center, falling by a 4-1 final to host and No. 8/9 Trinity (Conn.) College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Plattsburgh State entered Saturday night's game having gone 11-1-1 in its past 13 games, the most recent of which was a 3-2 victory over archrival Oswego State for the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title. Trinity has had its own run of good fortune lately as well, as the Bantams extended their winning streak to nine games with Saturday's victory.
The Cardinals finish their season at 17-10-1 overall, while Trinity rises to 19-6-3 and faces Endicott College in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday, March 18.
Special teams wound up being the difference, as the Cardinals went 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Bantams went 2-for-3 with the extra skater. Trinity also finished with a 39-27 margin in shots.
Just 1:16 into the game, Trinity's senior forward Sean Orlando scored on a rush straight down the middle of the ice, slotting a power-play goal into the net following a drag across the slot. Senior forward Ryan Cole and junior forward Tyler Whitney each were credited with assists on the play.
Orlando netted his second goal of the game 11:30 later, burying a pass from Whitney that split the slot diagonally and beating a sprawling Rouleau to his stick side. Senior defenseman Samuel Johnson also earned an assist on the play.
Plattsburgh State finally got on the board 3:31 into the third period. After a Bantam shot went just wide of junior goaltender Brady Rouleau (Fort Macleod, Alberta/Quinnipiac), the Cardinals picked up the puck in transition. Sophomore forward Cam Owens (Wilmington, Mass./Islanders Hockey Club) slotted the puck to freshman forward Joe Drabin(Rochester, N.Y./Wenatchee Wild) on the rush from the right wing, and Drabin pushed the puck past junior goaltender Alex Morin from the slot to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Senior forward Brandon Cole pushed the Trinity advantage back out to two less than three minutes later, however, as he used passes from senior forward Ethan Holdaway and junior defenseman Griffyn Martin to beat Rouleau glove side.
Neither team was able to score with the two netminders tending their respective goals in the third period, and the Cardinals pulled Rouleau in favor of the extra attacker with 2:45 left in the game. While Plattsburgh State had several chances to cut into the deficit, Trinity put the game on ice when Brandon Cole scored an empty-net goal with nine seconds left on the clock.
Rouleau made 35 saves in between the pipes for the Cardinals in the loss, while Morin earned the win for Trinity, making 26 stops.
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