Dumb penalties cost teams games.

How many times have players heard their coach preach that maxim of hockey? Plattsburgh learned that lesson the hard way Friday, when a penalty late in the third period cost them the game. Geneseo took advantage of the Cardinal mistake, and also took the 4-3 victory.

“This was a huge win for us,” said Geneseo coach Brian Hills. “It was the first time we have beaten Plattsburgh in our rink in over 12 years.”

Plattsburgh held three one-goal leads scattered throughout the game. But each time, Geneseo was able to answer to tie. Staying close to the Cardinals entering the third period was Hills’ strategy for the game, and it worked to perfection.

“It was rope-a-dope, Muhammad Ali. Hang in there. Hang in there, and then see what happens. If you go in to the third period, only down by a goal, or maybe tied against a strong team, then you give yourself a chance,” said Hills

Plattsburgh was holding on to a slim 3-2 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the game. Cardinal defenseman Bryan North took a hooking penalty at the 14:03 mark to prevent a Geneseo breakaway a clean shot on net. On the ensuing power play, Geneseo was able to mount some pressure on the Plattsburgh net.

One minute into the power play, after Plattsburgh had cleared the puck out of its zone, freshman Jordan Smith inexplicably slashed a Geneseo player in neutral ice. As the referee signaled the penalty, Plattsburgh coach Bob Emery immediately sent Smith to the showers.

However, the damage was done. Geneseo went on a five-on-three power play for a full minute, and took advantage of the gift.

Knight Nick Onody scored with a big blast from the left point that wound through a crowd before finding the back of the net. This game-tying goal came with just two seconds remaining in North’s penalty, so Geneseo remained on the power play as play continued.

It was Onody again, scoring just 46 seconds later with a slapshot from the right point, that gave Geneseo the 4-3 lead. A dumb penalty at an inopportune time cost Plattsburgh the game.

Geneseo almost gave the game back to Plattsburgh with a not-so-bright penalty of its own with just over a minute remaining. Geneseo’s Jay Kuczmanski tried to do his best impersonation of Smith with a slash at center ice, and Plattsburgh found itself on the power play with a chance to tie.

Emery pulled his goaltender for the duration, and the Cardinals had three good chances in the waning seconds, but Geneseo came up with strong defense to hold on to the victory.

“The first thing we preach is discipline, especially against top teams,” said Hills. “I don’t mind the physical penalties, but the stupid ones cost you games. I sat down one of my players in the second period for taking a dumb penalty.”

The two teams had traded goals early in the third period. Geneseo scored at the 4:03 mark to tie the game 2-2. After relentless pressure in the Plattsburgh zone, Michael Bond was finally able to chip in a rebound for the goal.

Plattsburgh retook its narrow lead less than two minutes later when Jeff Hopkins slapped home a shot from the slot.

After a scoreless first period, Plattsburgh and Geneseo were able to partially solve the puzzle of the goaltenders in the second period as each got on the scoreboard. The Cardinals struck first, 3:25 in to the period. Chad Kemp sprung the puck out of the corner and fed it to Joe Carpinone standing in front of the net. Carpinone swatted the puck past Geneseo netminder Brett Walker for the goal.

Midway through the period, Geneseo struck back. Offsetting penalties on each team meant they were skating four-on-four, and the Knights used the open ice to their advantage. While the puck was deep in the Cardinal zone, three of the four Plattsburgh defenders were sucked down in to the corner. Paul Weisman for Geneseo found himself unmarked in the slot, and when the puck squirted out of the corner on to his stick, he didn’t hesitate to wrist it past Plattsburgh goaltender Tony Seariac to tie the game 1-1 at the 9:47 mark.

Plattsburgh used a power play to retake the lead less than four minutes later. A Cardinal shot to the left of Walker ricocheted off of the left post, and out towards the right faceoff circle. Conor McDonough was right there for Plattsburgh to slide the puck in to the vacant net to give the Cardinals a 2-1.

The lead held up for the remainder of the second period, and gave Plattsburgh an edge entering the final stanza.

Geneseo came out in the first period with a home rink surge off the opening faceoff, putting pressure on the Plattsburgh net right away. However, the Cardinal defense was able to withstand the pressure, limiting Geneseo to only a few scoring chances in the first five minutes.

Plattsburgh carried play after that for most of the remainder of the first period. The Cardinals outshot Geneseo in the first stanza, although neither team was able to score.