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Saturday, Mar 04, 2017 at 1:12 am

WICE one win away from first ever CHA title

By Luke McGrath

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Heather Schwarz was ready for the moment. The senior forward positioned herself perfectly in front of the RIT goaltender, poised to pounce on a bouncing puck.

She did just that early in the second period to give SU its first goal of the game on a shot from the point by Megan Quinn that deflected off Jessica Sibley and fell right to Schwarz.

“There was no guarantee, like this would be our last game (if we lost) and it was kind of like we all knew we had to go all out, and it just felt nice to score,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz’s goal would be all the offense Syracuse needed to defeat RIT 4-0 to advance to its third straight CHA championship game, much in part to the goaltending of Abbey Miller. Miller recorded her ninth shutout of the season in her 13 save performance Friday night. With the shutout, Miller surpassed the program’s career shutout record all in one season.

Miller said she knows there is still work to be done Saturday against Robert Morris, but she is confident in her team as long as the game plan is executed.

“We’re better than them and they’re not an overly skilled team,” Miller said. “But if we give them time and space they’re gonna be able to be skilled, so we just can’t give them that time and space.”

Head Coach Paul Flanagan is optimistic the Orange can capture its first CHA title in program history and receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

“Tomorrow we’ll go after ‘em and hopefully we can show up with our A game,” Flanagan said. “Hopefully we’re having a real fun conversation [Saturday] at 6:00.”

Coach Flanagan said he knows his players are ready for the moment and is confident that the third time is the charm.

“They’re gonna play for each other tomorrow and bring our program a championship,” Flanagan said.

The CHA championship is Saturday at 4:00 pm at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York.

Correction: The above video reports that Syracuse advanced to its fifth straight CHA tournament game with Friday night’s win. That is incorrect, Syracuse advanced to its third straight CHA tournament game.