(Photo Credit: Gabe Dickens/Plattsburgh State SID)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – The Amherst men's hockey team battled to a 0-0 overtime tie with Plattsburgh State and won the ensuing shootout, 1-0 on a goal by Daniel Merenich '15 to lift the Jeffs to the 2015 Cardinal Winter Classic championship at Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena on Saturday evening.
For the second time in as many days, Amherst (6-2-2) battled to an overtime tie and won the contest with a 1-0 victory in the shootout – this time against Plattsburgh State (10-2-1).
In a game that saw Plattsburgh State own a slim 38-31 advantage in shots on goal, neither team was able to capitalize on the man-advantage as the host Cardinals were 0-for-3, while the Jeffs were 0-for-2.
Both goalies were outstanding between the pipes as Amherst senior Danny Vitale turned aside all 38 shots he faced through 65 minutes of action, while Spencer Finney made 31 stops to keep the game in a scoreless stalemate.
After Plattsburgh State's Rich Botting and Amherst's Aaron Deutsch '15 were both denied in the opening round of the shootout, Vitale saved an Alex Brenton shot in the second round, before Merenich found the cage to give the Purple & White a 1-0. Needing to equalize to start the third round, Vitale again came through fending off a Kevin Emmerling shot to seal the shootout triumph for the Jeffs.
Juniors Kevin Ryder and Patrick Arena led the Purple & White with five shots on goal each, while Kyle Hall led all players with seven shots on target, followed by four shots on net by Mark Constantine.
The Cardinals held a 9-6 advantage in shots on goal in the first period; Amherst claimed a 12-11 edge in the second period; Plattsburgh State owned a 13-11 differential in the third period, and followed that with a 5-2 difference in overtime.
Amherst returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 6 when it hosts Babson at 7 p.m. at Orr Rink to start an eight-game home stand through the month of January.