Championship weekend opens this afternoon at Plattsburgh’s Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. As always, choosing winners at this point of the season is akin to rolling dice in a windstorm. Here’s our take.
Friday, March 21
No. 6 St. Thomas at No. 1 Plattsburgh 3:30 pm
Back in the first half of the season, Plattsburgh goalie Sydney Aveson told us that the Cardinals were driven to resolve “unfinished business”, dating back from last spring. And who would doubt a club that has essentially run the table? Statistically, the hosts have no equals. Plattsburgh’s strength runs deep throughout its roster. Its 26-1-1 record as well as an unheard of +122 goal differential is an intimidating factor in the way opponents devise their respective game plans. The Tommies, impressive in 2014; only two blips on an otherwise clean slate, possess a dynamic lineup, buoyed by goalie Alise Riedel. I see St. Thomas keeping within arm’s reach of the Cardinals through the early action. However, going against, what has been a season-long perfect setup to the title for Plattsburgh is unwise. Plattsburgh 3-1
No. 4 Wisconsin-River Falls vs. No. 2 Norwich 7:00 pm
The Cadets need to keep the nation’s fourth-ranked offense from getting untracked. The Falcons offensive talents go deep through the lineup, as such, contributions occur on a game by game basis. Norwich’s Tori Charron is a menace to opposing defensive schemes, and senior defenders Brittany Sharman and Kayla Parsons are among the most accomplished pair in the nation. The Cadets’ specialty teams rank slightly higher than their opponents, although the WIAC champions numbers are slightly skewed by a number of early season, in-conference shootouts. With few threads to common opponents, this is among the most difficult games to pick this season. Defense wins for the Cadets. Norwich 2-1