Plattsburgh earns NEWHL Coaching Staff of the Year honors

Plattsburgh earns NEWHL Coaching Staff of the Year honors

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The coaches that comprise the Plattsburgh women's ice hockey team have been selected the 2020 Northeast Women's Hockey League's Coaching Staff of the Year.

The staff consists of 17-year head coach Kevin Houleo and first-year assistant Julia Duquette.

The NEWHL announced the honor on Wednesday, March 11, from its office in Syracuse, N.Y.

The award was voted on by the head coaches of the conference and is a change from the previous two years where a coach of the year honor was selected.

Houle is in his 17th season as the Plattsburgh State women's ice hockey coach in 2019-20. This season, he has guided the Cardinals to a 26-1-0 (18-0-0) Northeast Women's Hockey League (NEWHL) record and the Cardinals' third consecutive NEWHL Tournament title.

It marked the Cardinals' eighth consecutive conference title overall counting the five Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) West championships they won in the final years of that conference.

Plattsburgh State, which earned the NEWHL's automatic bid into the 2020 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Championship, begins the NCAA Tournament with a quarterfinal-round game against either Amherst College or Norwich University on Saturday, March 14.

Earlier this season, Plattsburgh State set the record for the longest home winning streak in NCAA women's ice hockey history as the Cardinals defeated Oswego State, 3-0, on Nov. 9, for their 29th consecutive home win.

The Cardinals' home winning streak is at 40 games entering the NCAA Tournament. Plattsburgh State also set the NCAA Division III women's ice hockey record for the longest overall winning streak with its 26th consecutive win over then-No. 7 UW-River Falls as part of the Panther/Cardinal Classic on Nov. 30, in Middlebury, Vt.

Houle has coached six All-NEWHL selections (five All-NEWHL First Team selections), including the NEWHL Player of the Year and NEWHL Goaltender of the Year. He has also coached two NEWHL All-Rookie Team honorees in 2019-20.    

Houle, who is the program's longest tenured and winningest coach, has a 423-51-25 (.873) record since taking over the program for the 2003-04 season. He has coached the Cardinals to seven NCAA Division III women's ice hockey championships (five in the past six years), seven Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Women's West Championship titles, three Northeast Women's Hockey League titles and at least 20 wins in each of his seasons.

He is a six-time American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Coach of the Year honoree, a three-time USCHO Coach of the year selection and a seven-time ECAC Women's West Coach of the Year recipient. He has coached twenty-six AHCA All-Americans, including 17 who have earned multiple All-America honors.

Houle guided Plattsburgh State to a 29-2-0 overall record, including a 16-0-0 mark in the NEWHL in 2018-19. He led the Cardinals to their second consecutive NEWHL conference championship and seventh NCAA Division III women's ice hockey championship. Houle was named the USCHO Women's Division III Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.

He coached four CCM/American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Women's Division III All-Americans, one Google Cloud Academic All-American, five All-USCHO Women's Division III Team honorees, a Laura Hurd Award nominee, two AHCA Krampade All-American Scholars, six All-NEWHL honorees, the NEWHL Player of the Year, the NEWHL Rookie of the Year, the NEWHL Co-Goalie of the Year. 

In 2017-18 the Cardinals won the inaugural NEWHL conference championship and went on to finish fourth in the NCAA Championship. Plattsburgh State went 24-4-2 overall and 15-0-1 in the conference. 

Houle coached three All-Americans in the 2017-18 season. Melissa Sheeran finished her senior campaign earning the 2017-18 Laura Hurd Award and was also the NEWHL player of the year. Sheeran joined Hannah Kiraly and Courtney Moriarty on being named to the 2017-18 CCM/American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Women's Division III All-America teams.
The 2016-17 Cardinals secured their fourth straight NCAA Championship title after notching a 28-1-1 overall record. Plattsburgh State topped No. 5 Elmira College, 2-1, in the ECAC Women's West Championship final, beat No. 7 University of St. Thomas, 4-2, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinal, beat No. 4 Norwich University, 4-0, in the championship semifinal and then rallied from one goal down in the final minute of regulation to knock off No. 2 Adrian College, 4-3, in overtime in the national final. The championship tournament, which was held in Adrian, Mich., was Plattsburgh State's first title win on visiting ice.

Plattsburgh State ended the season on a 23-game unbeaten streak, which began on Nov. 22, 2016. In that stretch, the team beat 11 nationally-ranked opponents and captured regular-season championships in the Panther/Cardinal Classic at Middlebury College and in the East-West Hockey Classic at Norwich University.

Seniors Erin Brand and Camille Leonard and juniors Megan Crandell, Kayla Meneghin and Melissa Sheeran were each selected as CCM/AHCA Division III All-Americans. Brand was the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player and Sheeran was a Laura Hurd Memorial Award finalist. Leonard graduated as the Division III leader in career wins (75) and save percentage (.949) and finished second all-time in Division III in shutouts (30). Academically, 10 Cardinals qualified for the ECAC Women's West All-Academic Team.
In 2015-16, Houle and the Cardinals won the program's fifth NCAA Division III championship after a school-record 29 overall wins against just one loss. After a mid-February loss, Plattsburgh State clicked off seven straight wins – four shutouts – to close out the season. The team outscored its opponents, 13-0, in the ECAC Women's West Championship tournament before recording five goals in three straight NCAA Championship games.

The Cardinals blanked No. 6 Amherst College, 5-0, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinal, beat No. 4 Middlebury College, 5-3, in the semifinal and then topped No. 3 University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 5-1, in the final.

Juniors Erin Brand and Camille Leonard and sophomores Kayla Meneghin and Melissa Sheeran were named as CCM/AHCA Division III All-Americans, with Houle himself earning AHCA Coach of the Year honors. Senior Bridget Balisy was also one of 58 student-athletes to receive an NCAA Spring Postgraduate Scholarship, which awards individuals who excel academically and athletically and who plan to pursue immediate graduate study. Academically, 10 Cardinals qualified for the ECAC Women's West All-Academic Team.
In 2014-15, Houle and the Cardinals won the program's fourth NCAA Division III championship after recording a 26-2-2 record. Plattsburgh State closed out the season on an 11-game winning streak, including two shutouts. The team beat No. 1 Elmira College, 4-0, in the ECAC Women's West Championship final on the Soaring Eagles' ice.

Plattsburgh State then topped nationally-regarded the University of St. Thomas, 4-1, in the NCAA Championship quarterfinal, beat No. 4 Norwich University, 5-2 in the national semifinal and then beat No. 2 Elmira, 3-2, in the national final.

Seniors Alyssa Parke and Shannon Stewart and freshman Kayla Meneghin were all named CCM/AHCA All-Americans and junior Giovanna Senese was selected as the NCAA Elite 89 winner. Academically, 10 Cardinals qualified for the ECAC Women's West All-Academic Team.

Houle put together an almost unstoppable squad during a a 2013-14 campaign which will ultimately go down as one of the best seasons by any Plattsburgh State team. After constructing a record of 23-1-1 and netting yet another ECAC West regular season title, the Cardinals secured hosting rights to the ECAC West Tournament where they took down Utica and Elmira to hoist the tournament crown.

In its opening game of the 2013-14 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Tournament, Plattsburgh State - led by four goals from Ali Vakos - handled Williams College 4-0 to punch its ticket to the NCAA Semifinals.

Looking to avenge their loss in the semifinal round from a season ago, the Cardinals took to their home ice and emerged with a hard-fought, 1-0 overtime triumph over St. Thomas before a raucous crowd of 1,619 fans witnessed the Cardinals claim the title of 2013-14 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Tournament Champions with a 9-2 win over Norwich. 

Houle saw three of his players earn All-American citations that season while Sydney Aveson became the second consecutive Plattsburgh State player - and just the second goaltender ever - to receive the AHCA Laura Hurd Award. Aveson was placed on the AHCA All-America First Team while Allison Era and Shannon Stewart picked up AHCA All-America Second Team laurels. For his efforts, Houle was bestowed with the AHCA National Coach of the Year award for the fifth time in his career. 

In his first 11 seasons at the helm, Houle had led the Cardinals to 10 NCAA tournament appearances (reaching the Frozen Four his first five years), nine conference regular-season titles and four ECAC West championships.

2012-13 saw the Cardinals made their second straight trip to the NCAA Div. III Championships. Unbeaten in conference play, Plattsburgh State claimed the ECAC West regular season and tournament titles en route to its ninth NCAA Tournament Appearance.

The Cardinals' season-long unbeaten streak came to an end in the NCAA Semifinals in a loss to Middlebury, but the Cardinals rebounded with a 4-0 win over Gustavus Adolphus to claim third place at the tournament. Teal Gove received the AHCA Laura Hurd Award while Houle was named the AHCA National Coach of the Year. Gove joined Sydney Aveson and Allison Era on the AHCA All-America First Team.

The 2011-12 season saw Houle guide the Cardinals back to the NCAA Div. III Championships. After a 20-7-3 season Plattsburgh received an at-large bid to the tournament and defeated Middlebury College to reach the Frozen Four. Their season finished when they defeated Gustavus Adolphus in the consolation game in overtime to finish 3rd place. Houle notched his 200th win as a head coach when the Cardinals defeated Cortland 3-1 in February.

The season also saw two Cardinal players, Teal Gove and Sydney Aveson, named AHCA All-Americans. Gove also won ECAC West Player of the Year honors, while Aveson won Goalie of the Year recognition and Emma Rutherford was named Rookie of the Year.

Houle earned his fourth conference coach of the year citation in 2009-10, after the Cardinals - picked for third in the preseason poll - went undefeated in the Eastern College Athletic Conference West Division with a 17-0-1 mark, setting a school record for league victories. The team finished 23-3-2 overall, reached the NCAA Quarterfinals and produced three All-Americans to lead the nation.

Houle's success led to an opportunity to be an assistant coach with the U.S. Women's National Team for 2007-08, in addition to his Plattsburgh duties. The Americans captured the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship (April 4-13) in China, a 4-3 win over top-seeded Canada. He also coached at the Four Nations Cup in Leksand, Sweden and attended training camps in Lake Placid, N.Y.;  Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Colorado Springs, Colo.

Meanwhile, during that same season, Houle and the Cardinals won their second straight national crown and posted a 25-3-1 record. Junior center Danielle Blanchard was named the school's first Laura Hurd Trophy winner, emblematic as the player of the year in Division III. Plattsburgh set an NCAA women's all-Divisions record with a 35-game unbeaten streak.

Houle became the fastest NCAA III women's coach to 100 wins (in 122 games) when the Cardinals blanked Oswego, 9-0, on the road Nov. 10, 2007.

In 2006-07, Plattsburgh won its first national championship in a women's team sport as the Cardinals became the first NCAA ice hockey champion to go undefeated at 27-0-2. The team also swept ECAC West regular-season and tournament titles and produced three All-Americans in goaltender Bree Doyle, defenseman Julie Devereux and Blanchard.

Houle piloted the 2005-06 Cardinals to their best season at the time since the women's program was founded in 2001. Plattsburgh set school records for victories (26-3-1), win percentage (.883), home unbeaten streak (29 games), home winning streak (18) and overall winning streak (14) and spent the last five weeks atop the United States College Hockey Online coaches' poll.

He coached six all-conference players, including ECAC West Co-Player of the Year Jenn Clarke, and three All-Americans, including Clarke who finished third in the national player of the year balloting. That campaign - which saw Plattsburgh sweep ECAC regular-season and tournament titles - was made even more impressive considering that Houle regularly used 10 freshmen in the lineup.

In 2004-05, Plattsburgh (21-7-1) earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament semifinals berth and Houle his second of three ECAC West Coach of the Year awards. The Cardinals went 11-1 during ECAC West play to claim a share of the regular season crown.  Erin O'Brien, Carolyne Roy and Elizabeth Gibson earned All-America honors.

Houle took the coaching reins on April 29, 2003 from Scott Dockett, the program's first coach, and served an interim basis during the 2003-04 season. Houle inherited a squad that went 18-5 the season before with no NCAA trips and molded Plattsburgh into a 22-6-2 club that won its first ECAC West title with a perfect 12-0 conference ledger and advanced all the way to the national semifinals on the Cardinals first try. He accepted the job permanently later that summer. Gibson became the school's initial first-team All-American and both O'Brien and Roy joined her on the coaches' all-star team.

Houle originally came to Plattsburgh in 1989 to work on the men's side and become former B.C. teammate and current Cardinals coach Bob Emery's top assistant. He was promoted to associate coach in 1994 and held that position until heading up the women's program in 2003.

The duo saw the Cardinals to NCAA championships in 1992 and 2001 and nine State University of New York Athletic Conference titles, including six straight from 1996 to 2002, both SUNYAC records. The Cardinals advanced to 10 NCAA tournament and seven Final Fours while winning 328 games.

Houle was involved in the recruiting and development of 11 All-Americans, five SUNYAC Players of the Year, six conference Rookies of the Year and nine SUNYAC Tournament MVPs. In 2002, he was honored by the AHCA with the Terry Flanagan Award, which recognizes the career body of work by a men's assistant coach.

Houle was a fifth-round draft pick, and No. 103 overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League's 1982 Entry Draft, but opted instead to attend Boston College on an athletic scholarship. 

He played professionally during the 1986-87 season in the Canadiens' farm system, splitting time between their American Hockey League affiliate Sherbrooke Canadiens and the Saginaw Generals of the International Hockey League.

After suffering an injury that season, Houle worked as a scout for the Montreal organization for two years.

A 1986 graduate of Boston College with a bachelor's of science degree in communications, Houle earned his master's degree in leadership administration from Plattsburgh State in 1997.

A 2017 graduate of Plattsburgh, Duquette is in her first season as the Plattsburgh State women's assistant ice hockey coach in 2019-20. This season, she has helped guide the Cardinals to a 26-1-0 (18-0-0) Northeast Women's Hockey League (NEWHL) record and the Cardinals' third consecutive NEWHL Tournament title.

Duquette was a four-time national champion for the Cardinals as an undergraduate student-athlete and a former assistant coach and hockey operations coordinator for the Selects Academy at Bishop Kearney High School.
Duquette spent the past two years as an assistant coach and hockey operations coordinator for the Selects Academy at Bishop Kearney in Rochester, N.Y. She helped coach the U16 team to two consecutive New York State championships as well as two straight USA Hockey national championship appearances. In addition to her assistant coaching role with the U16 team, she served as the hockey operations coordinator for both the U16 and U19 teams.
From 2013-17, Duquette suited up for the Plattsburgh State women's ice hockey team as a defenseman, helping lead the Cardinals to four straight national championships - an unprecedented feat in the history of NCAA women's ice hockey.

Responsible for one of the most iconic moments in the history of the program, Duquette scored a shorthanded goal with the extra attacker with 20.7 seconds left in regulation to force overtime against host Adrian College in the national championship game in 2017. Plattsburgh State wound up scoring the game-winner midway through the first overtime period to seal a 4-3 victory and its fourth straight national title. Duquette finished her career with 33 points on five goals and 28 assists in 114 games played.
Duquette earned dual bchelor of Science degrees in business administration and marketing from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2017.