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Middlebury stuns Plattsburgh State, 2-0

Mar. 11—PLATTSBURGH — It's a rarity.

It's a rare sight not to see the Plattsburgh State women's hockey team in the Frozen Four. The last time they weren't there was in 2011.

It was more rare to see the Cardinals be shut out at home. The last time that happened was 1-0 to Elmira on March 9, 2008 in the ECAC-West Championship Game.

Both of those were tossed out the window as Middlebury defeated Plattsburgh, 2-0 in a NCAA Division III Quarterfinal match, Saturday.

Cardinals head coach Kevin Houle credited the players that have come through the program that helped create and maintain the success at Plattsburgh.

"It's a lot to live up to from year to year, but we wouldn't want it any other way," he said. "To have that target on our back and we've had a lot of success over the years and it's just testament to the players and the girls that have come through this program, including the ones that leave this season."

Two of those leaving are captain Kendall Wasik and assistant captain Julia Masotta. Wasik spent her entire career at Plattsburgh while Masotta transferred two seasons ago from Norwich University.

"It's definitely one of the best decisions I've made now in my career and the reason that I want to come here is to play for the coach, to play for the coaching staff, to play with players that were here before me and that are going to be here after me and try and make a difference," Masotta said. "So, I mean, no regrets and I think we left it all out there and it was truly like one of the biggest honors to be able to put this jersey on and represent the school."

"It's a great decision that I made and I'm super happy that I made it."

It was a well fought game that saw both teams looking for scoring opportunities at the drop of the puck.

The Panthers were able to strike first midway through the first period as they scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway when Audrey Lazar hit the top bar before the puck landed in the net.

The second goal came early in the second period when Kate Flynn scored from right on the doorstep after a Plattsburgh State penalty.

"It was a great game," Middlebury coach Bill Mandingo said. "We knew coming up here playing against Plattsburgh, we'd be hard fought. They did play well and played hard. Kevin Houle is a great coach and they are a really good team.

"But we kind of had a feeling it's been a long time since we won here. The kids seem to be on the same page at the moment. We kind of hoped that if the puck dropped our way we would be in good shape. Plus we've got a pretty good goalie right now."

Panther's goalkeeper Sophia Will stopped all 30 shots she faced, but made sure to credit the ones who played in front of her that made her job easier.

"It just means a lot to like, show up and everyone around me shows up and I can't get a shut out without my team in front of me," Will said. "They've done a great job limiting high scoring opportunities, and I think that everyone has bought into what we represent."

The Cardinals best chances for scoring in the first period were on power plays, but Middlebury kept the pressure on. In fact, of the nine penalties given throughout the game, neither team allowed a special team goal.

There was even a moment in the middle of the third period where the Cards were able to kill an over a minute-long five-on-three.

"Certainly they took care of the front of the net pretty good," Houle said. "And our kids just battled to the end and had our chances at our opportunities and were just proud of the effort.

"Obviously, not the finish we wanted for our season. I feel bad for our team or our girls and especially the five girls that are moving on. Great players giving great effort all their careers and certainly tonight as well."

Along with Wasik and Masotta, Ivy Boric, Tatem Cheney and Lilla Nease wrapped up their careers, Saturday.

"I think for any athlete at any level or any sport, it's the camaraderie and having, however many best friends and something that you're welcomed into right away and I think just being part of a team and especially here at Plattsburgh the culture is unbelievable," Masotta said. "It's very welcoming.

"We all have each other's backs, and we all would do anything for each other. So I think just every athlete goes through it at one point, but I think just not being part of a team with such a great group of girls. That's definitely what I'll miss the most."

With the loss, Plattsburgh State finished 22-5-1 with three of those losses happening in their final four games, ending the season many believe ended too early.

Taking a moment to reflect, Wasik spoke on what she'll miss the most.

"Just going to the rink every day, seeing all my teammates, my friends, just putting on the skates and doing what I love," she said. "It will be sad when that day comes when I'm done — I am done — but it was definitely memorable and I'll just miss this everyone."

Middlebury 2, Plattsburgh State 0

MID 1 1 0 — 2

PSU 0 0 0 — 0

First Period- 1, MID, Lazar (Hower, Kim) 10:40

Second Period- 2, MID, Flynn (Ferraris, Kim) 17:32

Shots- Plattsburgh, 30-19

Saves- Will, MID, 30. Nease, PSU, 17