WICE Locks First Round Bye with Win Against RIT
By Luke McGrath
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The women’s ice hockey team locked up a first round bye in Saturday afternoons win against RIT.
After defeating the Tigers 5-2 on Friday, the Orange came out Saturday bigger, faster and stronger in its 2-0 victory.
The win means Syracuse will finish the season as either the one or two seed in the CHA (College Hockey America conference).
Syracuse now only has to win two games in the conference tournament to claim the CHA championship for the first time in program history, and receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Paul Flanagan stressed the importance of the first round bye.
“When you can eliminate the potential to play three games in three days I think that’s important,” Flanagan said. “The fact that we’ve been stressing it takes 120 minutes to win the championship, I would have been thrown all out of whack with 180 minutes.”
Senior captain Jessica Sibley emphasized the importance of being able to play a little easier in the remaining two games this season.
“Oh that’s huge, especially going into the playoffs,” Sibley said. “Like if you don’t you have to win three games back to back, so having that bye is huge for us.”
Sibley was not just excited about the bye, she was excited to score the game winning goal on her senior day and last game ever at the Tennity Ice Pavilion.
“At the start there were a lot of different emotions going on,” she said. “I was pretty upset but also pretty happy just like reflecting on my career here.”
Four other seniors were honored Saturday afternoon as well: Larissa Martyniuk, Heather Schwarz, Laurence Porlier and Morgan Blank.
SU’s seniors were not the only ones being celebrated after Saturday’s win. Junior goaltender Abbey Miller broke the program’s record for most shutouts in a season.
Miller needed just eight saves to record her seventh shutout of the year.
“My team played really well today and didn’t allow them to have very many shots, so it made it pretty easy for me,” Miller said. “It feels pretty awesome I guess.”
Syracuse will be back in action next weekend with its final series of the season at Penn State.
The following weekend will be the CHA tournament in Buffalo, where the Orange will look to avenge last seasons overtime loss in the championship game versus Mercyhurst.