UNO Classic Preview

More news about: Adrian | Elmira | Middlebury | Plattsburgh State

Compiled by D3hockey.com staff

While the PrimeLink ShootOut and some other men's tournaments garner a lot of attention every Thanksgiving weekend, none can stack up with the national pedigree that will be on display in Plattsburgh where four of the top six ranked women's teams will take to the ice in this season's UNO Classic. Formerly dubbed the Panther/Cardinal or Cardinal/Panther Classic, it has long-running been the premiere women's holiday weekend tournament and that remains the case yet again this year.

Saturday's opener will feature a rematch of the 2017 national championship game as No. 2 Plattsburgh faces off with No. 4 Adrian.
Photo: d3photography.com

Four-time defending national champion and host Plattsburgh State enters this year's tournament as the highest ranked of the group as it holds the No. 2 spot in the D3hockey.com women's Top 10, while third-ranked Elmira, fourth-ranked Adrian, and sixth-ranked Middlebury round out the field.  This year's field boasts an impressive 18-2-1 combined record so far this season.

Often the elite gathering of women's teams aside from the NCAA tournament in a given year, this weekend's tournament should once again live up to the billing as four elite teams will no doubt make for four terrific games that will not only entertain fans, but perhaps offer a little more insight as to how four of the top women's teams stack at this point in the season.

 

When: Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 25 & Dec. 26

Where: Stafford Ice Arena; Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Who: No. 2 Plattsburgh State, No. 3 Elmira, No. 4 Adrian, No. 6 Middlebury

Schedule (all times EST):

11/25 - Adrian @ Plattsburgh, 3:00 p.m.; Elmira v. Middlebury, 7:00 p.m.

11/26 - Third Place Game, 2:00 p.m.; Championship Game, 5:00 p.m.


About the tournament

Though it has existed under a few different names, the tournament make-up has been largely intact since the Middlebury Tournament in November of the 2005-06 season. The following year, Plattsburgh hosted the Plattsburgh Tournament and the Cardinals and Panthers have alternated hosting rights ever since and ushered in the Cardinal/Panther Classic moniker in 2009. This year, Plattsburgh returns as host after Middlebury held the duties a year ago, and the tournament has been rebranded as the UNO Classic.

UNO Classic Champions

2005: Middlebury
2006: Plattsburgh State
2007: Plattsburgh State
2008: Plattsburgh State
2009: Elmira
2010: Amherst
2011: Elmira
2012: Plattsburgh State
2013: Plattsburgh State
2014: Plattsburgh State
2015: Plattsburgh State
2016: Plattsburgh State

Middlebury won the inaugural event, while Plattsburgh took home the title from 2006-08. More recently, Elmira scored the title in 2009, Amherst in 2010, and Elmira again cashed in and took the championshp in 2011.  Since then it's been all Plattsburgh as the Cardinals have won five straight titles dating back to 2012. The Cardinals' eight championships are the most by any team.

Aside from this year's participants all being ranked in the top six, it's possible to dig a bit deeper to see the true national prowess of this weekend's field.

A women's Division III national champion was first crowned in 2002 and, in all but four seasons since, someone in this year's UNO Classic field has won the national title. Elmira won the first two in 2002 and 2003 and Middlebury followed with three straight from 2004-06. Plattsburgh then went back-to-back in 2007 and 2008, Elmira scored its third title in 2013, and Plattsburgh has taken home the hardware in each of the past four seasons.

In the 16 seasons a women's national championship has been held there have been 64 Frozen Four appearances and this field accounts for 29 of them, 28 of which have been claimed by the East Region trio. Furthermore, the UNO Classic participants have made a collective 17 national title game appearances. 

In a couple of interesting side plots, this year's weekend opener features a rematch of last season's NCAA championship game that saw Plattsburgh score late to force overtime before tipping Adrian 4-3 in the extra session, while the Elmira/Middlebury match-up is a repeat of the 2015 NCAA third-place game in which the Soaring Eagles topped the Panthers, 4-1. So who will it be this year? Can smeone end Plattsburgh's five-year run or will the Cardinals again stake their claim as the team to beat? Time will tell, but a couple of things are as sure as ever -- the weekend will not only serve up four fantastic games but will also provide some clear insight into the current pecking order of some of the top women's teams in the land.

 

About the teams

 

 NO. 2  PLATTSBURGH STATE CARDINALS

Plattsburgh is off to yet another strong start as it enters the weekend with a 5-1-0 record and has outscored its opposition 30-5. The Cardinals' lone blemish on the year is a 4-3 setback to now No. 1 Norwich on November 8. The loss cost Plattsburgh the No. 1 ranking, a position it had held for 140 consecutive weeks, in the D3hockey.com Women's Top 10.  Senior forward Melissa Sheeran is off to a blazing start as she has rolled up five goals and 13 assists for 18 points to lead the team and nation in scoring, while fellow senior forward Kayla Meneghin ranks second on the team in scoring with seven goals and six assists for thirteen points. Junior forward Courtney Moriarty's eight goals lead the team. All told, the trio of Meneghin, Sheeran and Moriarty have accounted for 20 of the Cardinals' 30 goals this year. Junior Kassi Abbot (3-1-0, 1.26, .950) and senior Brooke Wolejko (2-0-0, 0.00, 1.00) have both seen action in goal this year, though it was Abbot that picked up the start against Norwich, to-date Plattsburgh's toughest test of the year.

 

 

 NO. 4  ADRIAN BULLDOGS

Adrian, which stands at 6-1-1, got off to a strong start to its season with a win in its own season opening tournament that included a 3-0 championship game win over No. 5 UW-River Falls. The Bulldogs' lone blemish came the following weekend when they fell 3-2 in overtime at Northland, despite carrying a 66-14 advantage in shots. Last weekend Adrian played St. Scholastica to a 1-1 draw on Friday before erupting for an 11-0 win over the Saints on Saturday. A pair of defenders in Kelly O'Sullivan (5-6-11) and Kristi Zink (1-9-10) actually lead the club in scoring, though the Bulldogs have been incredibly balanced en route to outscoring opponents 41-6. Senior forwards Olivia Fox (4-5-9) and Rose Krasofsky (6-2-8) rank next, while eight others have registered at least five points on the year. The Bulldogs' power play has been lethal and has converted on nearly 40% of its chances this year, while freshman goaltender Kate Turner has seen action in seven games and fashions a 5-1-1 mark with a 0.46 goals-against-average and .968 save percentage

 

 

 NO. 3  ELMIRA SOARING EAGLES

Despite being undefeated at 5-0, Elmira is off to a seemingly quiet start despite the fact it enters the weekend as the third-ranked team in the nation and has outscored opponents 38-2 in its five contests. The Soaring Eagles' 0.40 goals allowed per game ranks as best in the land and much of the credit can go to the play of goaltender Kelcey Crawford. The senior has garnered four starts on the year and stands unbeaten with a 0.50 goals-against-average and .971 save percentage. Offensively, senior forward Sarah Hughson has tallied seven goals and five assists to lead the team in scoring, and her 12 points trail only Plattsburgh's Sheeran in the national ranks. Fellow forwards, junior Katie Granato (5-4-9), junior Shannon Strawinski (2-7-9), and freshman Devyn Gilman (2-7-9), follow on the team scoring leaderboard, while 13 other skaters, eight of whom are averaging at least a point per game, have dusted the scoresheet already this year. Elmira has won all but one game this year by at least six goals and has yet to be truly tested, though it will be this weekend and a strong showing could move the Soaring Eagles to the head of the national class.

 

 

 NO. 6  MIDDLEBURY PANTHERS

As is usually the case this time of year for perennial power Middlebury, it remains a bit of an unknown compared to some other teams as due to the late NESCAC state it has played just twice so far. But, the Panthers fared well in their two games last weekend as they topped Trinity 2-0 nd 4-1 in a two-game league set. Senior forward Maddie Winslow notched four assists on the weekend and leads the Panthers in scoring, while junior forward Katherine Jackson tallied three times, freshman forward Madie Leidt struck twice, and senior forward Jessica Young added a single goal. Sophomore goaltender Lin Han picked up both starts and made 47 saves on the weekend while conceding just the one goal to the Bantams. The Panthers finished the weekend a perfect 10/10 on the penalty kill while converting one out of five power play chances.

 

  

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Saturday, Dec. 16: All times Eastern
M:
4:00 PM
Chatham at Trine
Video Audio Live stats
M:
5:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at UW-Stout
Video Live stats
M:
8:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Augsburg
W:
2nd - 16:41
Plymouth State 0
Endicott 2
Live stats
W:
3:00 PM
Finlandia at UW-Superior
Saturday, Dec. 16: All times Eastern
M:
8:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Augsburg
Saturday, Dec. 16: All times Eastern
W:
2nd - 16:41
Plymouth State 0
Endicott 2
Live stats