PLATTSBURGH — The U.S. National Under-18 Team lost to the University of Michigan, 3-1, earlier this season and was coming off a 2-1 victory over the University of Vermont Friday night.
The U-18 team already had eight games under its belt, while Saturday night's exhibition game at the Stafford Ice Arena was the Plattsburgh State's men's hockey team's first competition of the season.
So, one would think Cardinals' head coach Bob Emery would have been pleased with his team's performance in a 2-0 setback to the talented group of 17-year-olds.
Two five-minute penalties for hitting from behind and contact to the head, respectively, along with a five-minute major for fighting left Emery less than happy.
"I'd rather lose a game, 10-0, and play with class," he said. "The freshmen on this team are going to learn what Cardinal Hockey is all about. They will take a seat and I will play with 10 players if I have to.
"Discipline comes before winning. If the players don't show discipline, it ruins it for everyone."
The Cardinals, who are already without five veteran players who are out for disciplinary reasons, played a solid game.
The U-18 national team finished with a 27-26 advantage in shots on goal and all three Plattsburgh State goalies — Josh Leis, Sam Foley and Mathieu Cadieux — were up to the task while each playing one period.
"The team played hard and there were a lot of good things that came out of the game," Emery said. "I like our team to play tough, but they have to play smart."
The Cardinals were whistled for nine penalties and 43 penalty minutes in the physical contest.
The U-18 team took the lead for good with 6:55 gone in the first period when Nikolas Olsson put his own rebound low into the net. Nicolas Kerdiles and Miles Koules assisted.
It stayed that way until near the end of the second stanza when Koules scored a power-play goal from in close. Ryan Hartman and Frankie Vatrano got the assists.
Neither team scored in the third period, despite the Cardinals sending two shots off the post.
Jared Rutledge stopped all 26 shots he faced to record the shutout in net for the U-18 squad.
"They're good," Emery said. "They have good speed through the neutral zone."
The Cardinals return to the ice this coming Saturday when they hold their annual Red/White Game. The real season begins the following Saturday when Plattsburgh State opens its SUNY Athletic Conference campaign at Morrisville State.