There's more than one NCAA Tournament to be paying attention to. The Division III Women's Hockey Frozen Four is taking place this weekend, where two local teams will compete for the ultimate prize at Stafford Arena.
With a clean sheet and whole lot of momentum, the Plattsburgh and Norwich women's hockey teams set their sights on a Division III national championship this weekend.
"We came to Plattsburgh to win a national championship," Plattsburgh forward Jordan Caldwell said." This is it, do or die for a national championship."
"As seniors, this is it, career ending," Norwich forward Haley Gibson said. "We are going to give it everything we have, leave it all on the ice. It takes everything to win this, everything."
The top-seeded Cardinals earned the right to host this year's Frozen Four after bouncing Williams 4-1 in the quarterfinals round. After falling short the past few seasons, they believe it's time to bring Stafford its first title since 2008.
"We want to go out with a bang, to do it in our own barn would be a dream come true," Plattsburgh goaltender Sydney Aveson said.
"For the six seniors, this is our shot to finish our careers with a title," Plattsburgh forward Chelsea VanGlahn said. "I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else."
It took a Cadets 2-1 sudden victory over Elmira to put them back into the title conversation. Knocking off the defending national champions is the kind of confidence boost you need to win a second title in four years.
"This team is different than those in past," Norwich forward Tori Charron said. "We play and fight for each other, our effort is team-oriented."
While these two have seen plenty of each other, what they haven't seen is much of is their opponents. PSU will host St. Thomas (MN) in the first game Friday at 3:30 p.m. Norwich will meet Wisconsin-River Falls in the second pairing at 7 p.m.
"This is a fast team and they're very good," Plattsburgh coach Kevin Houle said. "They won their conference so they certainly deserve to be here."
"What scares me most about this team is we know nothing about them," Norwich coach Mark Bolding said. "They win 20 games every year and made it here, we know it will be tough. Hopefully, they feel the same way."
As for Saturday's championship, if these two local powers end up skate-to-skate, they'll cross that center line when they get to it
"As long as we beat St. Thomas, I don't really care who we play," Caldwell said.
"We would like for there to be a rematch but we have to get through Wisconsin-River Falls first and we're looking forward to that," Bolding said.
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