January 26, 2014
Aveson earns record 27th career shutout as Cards beat Pioneers

UTICA — Sydney Aveson recorded 26 saves as the top-ranked Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team topped No. 10 Utica 2-0 in an ECAC West game at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday.

The win marked Aveson’s 27th career shutout, which is more than any other NCAA Division III men’s or women’s goaltender. The previous women’s record of 26 was set by Manhattanville’s Nicole Elliott from 2002 to 2005. The men’s record of 25 career shutouts was set by Kyle Jones of St. Norbert from 2005 to 2008.

With a 12-0-1 mark and 10 shutouts on the season, Aveson has played a key role in a stingy Plattsburgh defense that has allowed just four goals through 17 games.

After a high-scoring affair for the Cardinals Friday, Saturday’s script was a much different one for the pair of conference foes. The two teams remained scoreless after one period with Plattsburgh holding a slight 11-9 advantage in shots on goal through the first 20 minutes.

“Sometimes, the puck goes in for you,” Cardinals coach Kevin Houle said. “That was the case (Friday). (Saturday), Utica played a lot harder in their own end and limited our opportunities. They were playing tough defense and played a heck of a game.

“At times, they took the play to us, for sure. Sydney made some saves that were just unbelievable. She was the difference in the game (Saturday).”

The Cardinals (16-0-1, 9-0-0 ECACW) were finally able to break through at 7:38 of the second period, capitalizing on two straight penalties called against the Pioneers. Jordan Caldwell netted her eighth of the year from Jenny Kistner on the power play to give Plattsburgh a 1-0 lead that it would take into the second intermission.

“Sometimes, you don’t score goals when you play good teams,” Houle said. “We won’t beat every team 8-0. We weren’t firing on all cylinders in terms of having everybody going.

“We have to give our opponent credit for making it hard on us. We have players that need to step up and play better. Beating Utica 8-0 is more of a surprise than beating them 2-0.”

Ali Vakos gave the Cardinals some breathing room just 53 seconds into the third period with her seventh of the season off an assist from Chelsea VanGlahn.

The Pioneers (11-5-0, 6-4-0) continued to pressure the Cardinals, but Utica was unable to solve Aveson. Utica’s best scoring chance of the weekend came halfway through the third period when Kelsey Dowdall put a low shot on net. The rebound popped right to Kristen Beckman, but Aveson made a sprawling save to preserve the shutout.

The Cardinals outshot the Pioneers by a 33-26 margin. Plattsburgh went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Utica was unable to score on its three chances.

Utica goaltender Jennifer Hamel made 31 stops in the loss.

Plattsburgh returns home Saturday night as the Cardinals host Potsdam in an ECAC West matchup.

“I can’t single anybody out other than Syd,” Houle said. “Our blue line played very well. Vakos and VanGlahn carried us up front (Saturday). We’re glad to have the four points, but we certainly have to play better as a group.

“(Saturday), I didn’t think we had an outstanding effort from everybody. We need to get better and get back to playing more consistent hockey.”