The top-ranked Plattsburgh State women's ice hockey team beat nationally-regarded and fourth-seeded Utica College, 6-1, in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Women's West Championship semifinal round on Sunday. The Cardinals, who won the regular-season title, improve to 24-1-1 on the season, while the Pioneers are 17-9-1. Both teams are polled according to the latest U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and D3hockey.com national rankings.
Plattsburgh State will host second-seeded Elmira College next Saturday at 3 p.m. in the final contest. Elmira knocked off third-seeded Buffalo State College, 6-0, in the other semifinal game. The Cardinals have advanced to the title game in each year of their existence, a streak that now reaches 16 seasons. Saturday will be the 12th time that Plattsburgh State and Elmira will meet for the crown.
Plattsburgh State junior Melissa Sheeran (Schaghticoke, N.Y./Millbrook School) had two goals and one assist, while classmate Kayla Meneghin (Clifton, N.J./The Gunnery) chipped in one goal and two assists. Senior Erin Brand (Long Beach, N.Y./Syracuse) scored two power-play goals and sophomore Mackenzie Millen (Anchorage, Alaska/North American Hockey Academy) netted one goal. Junior Megan Crandell (Fullerton, Calif./Saint Norbert) and sophomores Maci Hoskins (Oklahoma City, Okla./Northwood School) and Courtney Moriarty (Estero, Fla./Northfield Mount Hermon) each provided two assists, while seniors Jordan Lipson (Davis, Calif./Pomfret School) and Melissa Ames (Rochester, N.Y./Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U-19) both had one helper. Senior Camille Leonard (Oakville, Ontario/Oakville Jr. Hornets) collected 24 saves for her 71st career win.
Sheeran's two-goal outing upped her career total to 73 to pass Laurie Bowler '10 for fifth in program history. She also recorded her 22nd career game-winning goal to extend her own school record.
Utica junior Taylor Osowski scored with help from senior Jane Pagano. Senior Gabrille Schnepp and junior Carlie Smith both won nine faceoffs. Senior Keira Goin stopped 38 shots in net.
The teams skated to a scoreless tie in the first period, with Plattsburgh State owning a 16-9 shot advantage. The Cardinals broke onto the board at 1:09 of the second period as Millen collected Hoskins' rebound before stuffing the puck inside the right post. Sheeran then made the score 2-0 at 13:34 by picking the top left corner after receiving an end boards pass from Meneghin. Utica countered 14 seconds later as Pagano shoveled up a pass to Osowski, who slipped a quick shot five-hole on Leonard to bring the Pioneers to within a one-goal margin. Brand later clicked off two power-play markers 45 seconds apart as the hosts led, 4-1, after two periods.
Sheeran scored her second goal of the game, this time on a power play, at 9:33 of the third period by ripping a right circle shot that bounced off of a Pioneer skater and into the net. Meneghin closed out the Cardinals' scoring at 16:32 as she redirected Hoskins' point shot.
Courtesy: Plattsburgh State Athletics
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