Belger’s Late Go-Ahead Goal Pushes Plattsburgh State Men’s Hockey Past Williams

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Plattsburgh State men's ice hockey sophomore Nick Belger (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Soo Eagles) scored with 1:10 remaining in regulation to break a 1-1 tie to vault the Cardinals to a 3-1 non-conference win against Williams College at the Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena on Saturday. The win moves Plattsburgh State to 8-8 on the season, while Williams is 7-5-2. The Cardinals wrapped up the non-conference portion of their regular-season schedule and will now jump back into State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) competition. 

In addition to Belger's tally, Plattsburgh State junior Ayrton Valente (Woodbridge, Ontario/Mississauga Chargers) and sophomore Ross Sloan (Oakville, Ontario/Oakville Blades) both scored. Sophomore Cam Owens (Wilmington, Mass./Islanders Hockey Club) and freshmen Charles Barber (Queensbury, N.Y./New York Bobcats) and Joe Drabin (Rochester, N.Y./Wenatchee Wild) each assisted, with Owens going 15-of-22 on faceoffs. Senior Brady Rouleau (Fort Macleod, Alberta/Quinnipiac) turned in 15 saves for his second win in net in as many days. 

Williams senior Sam Gray scored with help from classmate Taylor Carmola and junior C.J. Shugart, with Gray adding 13 faceoff wins. Junior Stephen Morrissey collected 33 saves in the loss. 

Plattsburgh State and Williams skated to a scoreless opening period after both totaling seven shots. The Ephs' best chances of the stanza came during a trio of power-play bids at 16:46, including a Rouleau behind-the back grab to rob junior Colby Cretella. Sloan's wrister in the final minute was gloved by Morrissey. 

The second period nearly went scoreless again but a late 5-on-3 power-play opportunity allowed the Cardinals to capitalize with the man advantage. Barber passed down a point pass to Drabin on the left side and Drabin one timed a pass through the slot to Sloan, who punched home the puck into the open net with 8.1 seconds remaining in the period. The marker was Sloan's first since scoring against SUNY Potsdam on Dec. 2. 

Williams entered Saturday having won three straight games, potting four third-period goals in that span. The visitors finally broke onto the scoreboard at 6:52 of the third period. After receiving a feed from Carmola in the middle of Ephs' defensive zone, Gray skated all the way up ice, slid to the left side faceoff circle and snapped a quick shot into the top-right corner. The visitors nearly went ahead seven minutes later, but Rouleau kicked away freshman Peter Christie's shot. Still tied with just under two minutes remaining, Belger buried the go-ahead goal with 1:10 to play. After Quilty's shot was stopped on the left post by Morrissey, Morrissey lost track of the puck in the scramble and Belger scooped up the loose puck behind the net, fed to Owens, who quickly delivered back the puck and Belger tucked in a low shot inside the right post. With 51 seconds left and with an extra attacker, Williams senior Tyler Young backhanded a behind-the-net pass that bounced off of a Cardinal defender and nearly into the net but Rouleau pounced on the loose puck before it crossed the goal line. Valente would fire a shot from his defensive zone and into the open net with 34.4 seconds left to seal the game. 

Plattsburgh State resumes its SUNYAC schedule with a nine-game stretch, beginning next Friday at 7 p.m. with a home game against Morrisville State College.

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