Returning to action after a three-week layoff, the Cardinals took on their mascot namesakes from Plattsburgh in the opening round of the Cardinal Classic Fri., Dec. 28. Wesleyan trailed its #8-ranked nationally host by a narrow 2-1 margin, with the Wesleyan goal by Keith Buehler '14 (#13, photo by Gabe Dickens), heading into the final period. Plattsburgh netted its third goal just 19 seconds into the final frame for a 3-1 lead and tacked on a pair of late tallies to pad the final margin to four at 5-1. It was a repeat of the first and only other time the squad's met during the 2008-09 season, also in the Cardinal Classic. Wesleyan was hoping for a better result in the consolation game this time out, having fallen to Williams by a 2-0 count four years ago, when it took on Elmira Sat., Dec. 29. Elmira was a 5-1 loser to Amherst in its first-round matchup.
Wesleyan got just that with a 5-2 win, thanks to a pair of goals from Buehler and multiple-point games from John Guay '13, Donald Kleckner '13 and Jay Matthews '16, as the Cardinals pulled away from Elmira in the first meeting of the teams since the 1974-75 season. With his three goals during the tournament, Buehler found a spot on the all-tournament squad.
Klecker, with a goal and an assist to up his seasonal point total to 12, put Wesleyan ahead for good against Elmira at 10:17 of the second period, knocking in a rebound for a 2-1 Wesleyan edge. Buehler got credit for the game-winner by upping Wesleyan's lead to 3-1 four minutes later with his initial goal of the game. Though Elmira closed the gap to one at 3-2 by the end of the second frame, goals by Buehler, his sixth of the year, and Guay, his fourth, in a span of just 37 seconds late in the third period locked up the triumph. Buehler and Nick Craven '13 are now tied for the team leadership in points with 14 each as Craven, who has a team-best eight goals, had an assist to give him at least one scoring point in each of the team's last seven outings. Buehler has been good for at least one point in each of Wesleyan's 10 games thus far.
In his second start of the season, Nolan Daley '16 had another solid effort with 24 saves as Wesleyan held a 37-26 margin in shots on goal vs. Elmira.
Against Plattsburgh, Buehler put one into the net with one second remaining in the middle period, cutting Plattsburgh's 2-0 lead in half. Craven and Kleckner posted the assists. Craven entered the game with a string of five consecutive games with a goal scored.
Plattsburgh came away with a 34-25 edge in shots on goal as Wesleyan keeper Glenn Stowell '13 registered 29 saves.
Wesleyan gets back into NESCAC play with a home weekend against Middlebury Fri., Jan. 4 and Williams Sat., Jan. 5 in its next action.