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Saturday, Nov 02, 2019 at 12:09 am

Syracuse Falls Short in First Conference Action of the Season

By Noah Cierzan

CitrusTV Women’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter

It took Syracuse 11 seasons to be crowned the CHA champions when they defeated Robert Morris in the 2018-19 CHA tournament. Friday night was the Orange’s first chance to defend their throne.

Unfortunately for the Orange faithful, Syracuse (1-10, 0-1 College Hockey America) choked a third period lead and fell to RIT (3-5-1, 1-3 CHA) 7-4.

Syracuse showed signs of life early, dominating RIT in the shots on goal department 14-3 in the first period.

“We started off with a lot of energy. We were really excited to get the season started with conference games,” said forward Kelli Rowswell

Syracuse was also very successful with its forechecks in the first frame because SU controlled their sticks. Paul Flanagan has preached all season that the team has to clean up its stick penalties.

“We had some pretty good puck position in that first period,” said Flanagan. “But I think our kids had a false sense of security.”

Despite playing well in the first period, Syracuse only led by one goal going into the second frame of action. RIT then busted the game wide open, scoring three goals unanswered.

“I told them [Syracuse] at the first intermission that as well as we think we played, their one shot away from being a tie game,” said Flanagan.

The three goals came on defensive breakdowns when Syracuse’s sloppy in the offensive zone led to breakaways. This team’s offense has been its best form of defense, but not after the first period.

Goalie Allison Small struggled on those breakaways, allowing a 5-hole goal.

“It’s disappointing, me and the defense were communicating, but they ended up making a good play, making smart plays, and they capitalized on their chances,” said Small.

The final score looked a little more lopsided than it actually was as RIT scored two empty net goals in the last minute of the game.

“It’s upsetting, you know when you’re out, you know that you’re down,” said Small about getting pulled in the last minute. “But there’s nothing you can do about sitting on the bench.”

Syracuse’s defense will get the chance for redemption tomorrow when they travel to RIT for game two.

“It’s all about good recovery tonight. Team had a really good cool down. We talked it over as a team. Everybody needs to get a good night’s sleep, a good rest, and get some hydration in and be ready to go in the morning,” said Small about the quick turnaround.

Syracuse has lost four out of the last five matchups against RIT, and will look to change that on Saturday, that game is at noon.

ncierzan@syr.edu l @ncierzan