Fourth Time’s the Charm as Syracuse Finally Beats Penn State
The saying usually goes third time’s the charm, but against Penn State (4-1-1, 4-1-1 College Hockey America), the fourth time was the charm for Syracuse (2-4-1, 2-2-1 CHA) to get a win against their CHA foes, winning on Saturday 4-2 to close out the 2020 portion of the 2020-2021 season.
The Orange entering this game was 0-2-1 against the Nittany Lions, including Friday night’s game, where they lost to PSU in overtime at home. Things did not start well for SU, as Olivia Wallin was able to strike first blood for Penn State with under nine minutes left in the first period. Wallin would actually be the only player on Penn State head coach Jeff Kampersal’s squad, scoring twice on Saturday. Her second goal broke a tie between the two teams early in the second period. All three of Wallin’s goals this season came during the four-game stretch against the Orange this week and last.
Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan’s team would not go down without a fight, not allowing the Nittany Lions to sweep them in their house at Tennity Ice Pavilion. Sarah Thompson got the party started for the Cuse moments after Wallin scored her first goal. Then it was Abby Moloughney four minutes after Wallin tallied her second goal of the day, notching her third goal of the weekend after she scored two on Friday. The Orange and Nittany Lions were tied at two apiece entering the third and final period. If you had watched any game of Syracuse’s prior to Saturday, you would have thought that SU wouldn’t have been able to pull out with the victory. Not on this day though.
Emma Polaski scored on a power play four minutes in the third to give Syracuse the lead. A one-goal win is nice, but a two-goal win is better, at least some people feel that way. Victoria Klimek I think is one of those people. With less than a minute in the game, Klimek put the final nail in the coffin for Penn State, making it a 4-2 game. Klimek has feasted on the Nittany Lions this season, scoring four goals during Syracuse’s four-game series with Penn State. She now has a team-high five goals and eight points.
A big contributor to SU’s win today can be attributed to how the Orange dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 36 faceoffs to the Nittany Lions’ 26. Another factor can be the fact that Syracuse was able to limit the amount of shots goalie Allison Small saw. Small, although dominant this season, did not have her best game against Penn State on Friday. On Saturday however, Small had 34 saves on 36 shots. Compared to her PSU counterpart, Josie Bothun, Small saw ten fewer shots.
It was a nice way to close out what has been a roller coaster 2020 for Syracuse. Their next game has not been announced yet, but the Orange do have something going for them. That is that they will get to spend the next few weeks off from playing games, knowing that they ended in a win, and that could be a huge momentum booster into the remainder of their season.