PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -- In a showdown between the top two teams in Division III hockey, top-ranked Plattsburgh State emerged victorious with a 5-2 win against the No. 2 Middlebury Panthers in a non-conference matchup Tuesday night at the Stafford Ice Arena.
The Cardinals (19-1-1) came out strong with a 6-0 edge in shots on goal early in the first, but the Panthers (16-2-3) came firing back to test Plattsburgh State goaltender Sydney Aveson and outshoot the Cardinals 11-10 in the period.
After 10 minutes on solid offensive pressure, Middlebury finally broke through when Sara Ugalde found Victoria Laven just inside the blue line. Laven's shot from the right point was denied by Aveson but Jane Freda gathered the loose puck and scored top shelf to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead with 2:38 left in the first.
A reenergized Cardinal squad hit the ice at the start of the second as Tyne Gove took a backhanded pass from Jenny Kistner and beat Middlebury goaltender Madeline Marsh to tie the game at 1-1 with just 2:25 gone in the period. Katelyn Turk also added an assist on Gove's second of the season.
Plattsburgh State took grabbed the lead at 16:39 of the second when Alyssa Parke worked her way around a pair of Middlebury defender and ripped a shot through a screen from the top of the near circle to make it a 2-1 game. Chelsea VanGlahn and Bridget Balisy assisted on Parke's team-leading sixth power-play goal of the year.
Just 1:10 later the Cardinals struck again when Ali Vakos set up Giovanna Senese for a one-timer that sailed past Marsh, giving Plattsburgh a two-goal lead to take to the second intermission.
The Cardinals killed off a Panther's power play to start the third before Katelyn Turk netted her fourth of the year at the 6:08 mark. Turk hit Gove with a pass in the right circle and Gove sent a shot just wide of Marsh but the puck deflected off the skate of Turk and into the back of the net to put Plattsburgh State up by three.
Middlebury cut the Cardinals' lead down to two when Jennifer Krakower scored on a power-play goal on a shot from the point at the 13:38 mark but an empty-net goal from Vakos in the final minute of play sealed the 5-2 final for Plattsburgh State.