Friday’s exhibition tilt against St. Michael’s will be 609 days since Plattsburgh women’s hockey saw game action.
That being said, the team is technically still the reigning Division III champion, even if it might not feel like it anymore.
“We’re looking back at 2019,” Plattsburgh head coach Kevin Houle said. “That was a long time ago, two years ago.”
“I think it’s a completely new ballgame,” graduate student forward Annie Katonka said. “New team, new players, new faces. Everything.”
In addition to having its chance at a repeat title cut short at the end of the 2019-20 season, the team also didn’t play any games in 2020-21. While there was no tournament last season, it still left players feeling envious of anyone who got to compete.
“Seeing all our friends play and sitting back and watching, it was a lot,” Katonka said. “We really grew and developed a tight bond with each other during that off period, so coming back out on the ice makes it all worth it.”
Ahead of the new campaign, the Cardinals are trying to focus on ironing out their system and figuring out all the technical aspects of playing a team game.
“It’s been a little difficult here and there, but obviously nothing we didn’t expect after having two years off,” senior defender Erin McArdle said. “We’re getting there slowly, but surely.”
Houle added that, regardless of how many games a team played last season, everyone will be adjusting to playing a real schedule as this year’s campaign begins. Plattsburgh will get its first taste of competitive action hosting a home-and-home exhibition series against St. Michael’s starting Friday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The Cardinals are on the road against the Purple Knights first, and then PSU gets home ice on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 3 p.m.