ADRIAN, Mich. – The top-ranked Plattsburgh State women's ice hockey team blanked fourth-ranked Norwich University, 4-0, in the NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship semifinal round at Adrian College's Arrington Ice Arena Friday afternoon. The Cardinals are now 27-1-1 on the season, while the Cadets go to 23-6-1. Plattsburgh State advances to the final tilt and will face either No. 2 Adrian or No. 10 Gustavus Adolphus College on Saturday at 7 p.m. Adrian and Gustavus play at 7 p.m. Friday.
Plattsburgh State senior Erin Brand scored twice and had one assist, while junior Melissa Sheeran added one goal and one assist. Junior Kayla Meneghin scored and classmate Megan Crandell provided two assists, while seniors Melissa Ames and Jordan Lipson and sophomores Muna Fadel and Ashley Songin assisted.
Sheeran extended her program record for career game-winning goals (24) while upping her career goal total to 77 to take sole possession of third in program history. Leonard registered her 30th career shutout and is just one clean sheet from tying the Division III women's ice hockey mark held by former teammate Sydney Aveson '14.
Norwich junior Sarah Schwenzfeier was 13-of-23 on faceoffs and sophomore Bryn Labbe won 12 draws. Junior Laurie King totaled 47 saves.
The Cardinals controlled the majority of offensive pressure in the opening period. Plattsburgh State peppered 12 shots on net while Norwich totaled four chances. Just past four minutes in, Sheeran wristed a shot through traffic that caromed off of the crossbar and junior Kayla Meneghin pounced on the puck for a quick rebound chance that King blocked. The Cardinals capitalized on their only power-play chance of the period as Sheeran picked the top right corner at 9:25. Norwich had a trio of bids less than one minute later while on a power play of its own, but Leonard was there to deny each shot.
Plattsburgh State buried two goals during a 22-shot second period. Despite not being able to execute on an early 5-on-3 opportunity, the Cardinals broke through with their second player-advantage at 13:47. Brand found the left side after receiving a cross-ice pass from Lipson. Leonard came up again with a pair of big stops in the last two minutes. After killing a last-minute penalty, Plattsburgh State quickly transitioned back to offense and Menghin deposited a goal with nine seconds remaining in the stanza. Songin fed a right corner pass over to Meneghin, who spun around and slid an ice-level shot into the right side.
Brand found the back of the net once more when she tallied at 3:48 of the third period for Plattsburgh State's fourth goal. Fadel won right circle draw over to Ames, who shoveled up to Brand and Brand's point blast deflected off of a Cadet stick and over King's glove. The Cardinals killed off their only penalty of the period, aided by Leonard's four stops.