PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh State made its share of mistakes Saturday night. But, Bryan Hince's goaltending and an opportunistic offense more than picked up the slack. The Cardinals scored three unanswered goals in the second and third periods and pulled away to a 7-2 win over Brockport in State University of New York Athletic Conference men's hockey tournament semifinal play at the Stafford Ice Arena.
Top-ranked Plattsburgh State (23-1-2) will host rival Oswego, a 5-1 winner over Geneseo, in Saturday's SUNYAC Tournament championship game at 7 p.m.Dylan Clarke tucked in a rebound at 3:04 of the first period for a power-play goal and a 1-0 Plattsburgh State lead.
But, Ray Tremblay scored on a rebound at 9:59 to tie it for the Golden Eagles and James Cody's short-handed goal, also on a rebound, gave Brockport a 2-1 lead at 11:54.
"We made a lot of mistakes," said Plattsburgh State head coach Bob Emery. "And, they weren't limited to just the first period. They were more obvious in the first period, however, because that's when they scored their two goals."
Hince, meanwhile, came up big a couple of times to keep the Cardinals' deficit at one.
"Hince was equal to the task," Emery said. "He kept an opponent to two goals or under again. If it wasn't for him, Brockport could have had a bigger lead."
Plattsburgh State then got its act together in the first 8:37 of the second period when it rallied for three goals and a 4-2 advantage. Riley Hill scored on a tip-in at 2:44 to tie it and Andrew Willock took a great pass from Hill to tally a short-handed goal to put the Cardinals ahead to stay.
"The short-handed goal took some of the wind out of Brockport's sails," said Emery.
Kyle Kudroch's wrister from just inside the slot then gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead at 8:37. Plattsburgh State added three more goals in the third, with Kyle Taylor getting it started at 2:06. With under six minutes to go in the game, the Golden Eagles, with the faceoff in the Plattsburgh State end, pulled goaltender Todd Sheridan for an extra attacker. But, the Cardinals foiled that strategy on Vick Schlueter's unassisted goal at 14:41. The Cardinals' final goal came at 16:24 when Ryan Corry tallied off a nice Joey Wilson pass.
"Some of our guys played well tonight and some didn't," Emery said. "Brockport came out with more emotion than we did.We had too many defensive zone breakdowns, but I'm still proud of the guys for bouncing back the way they did after falling behind in the game. I felt we were able to do some good things offensively."
The Cardinals held a 32-31 advantage in shots on goal, with Hince finishing with 29 saves and Sheridan, 25.
Saturday's setback closed out a 14-10-3 overall season for the fourth-seeded Golden Eagles, who enjoyed their best season in team history.