Ice Hockey Gears Up for Weekend Series with Penn State, Nabs Six Commits
By Chilekasi Adele | @CAdeleTV
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – Syracuse Ice Hockey is back in action Friday for the first time since Nov. 6.
SU will welcome Penn State tonight at 7 PM and Saturday at 3 PM. This is the first matchup for the CHA teams since the Orange beat the Nittany Lions 3-2 in the CHA semifinals last season. Syracuse advanced to the championship where they fell to Robert Morris, which disbanded their team last season due to financial issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Syracuse’s last game against RIT, the Orange blanked the Tigers 7-0 on the road. The night before, freshman Sarah Marchand netted the game-winner in overtime, ending the game with a 3-2 Syracuse victory.
Last week’s scheduled game against Cornell was postponed just hours before the puck was scheduled to drop. Students at the university were told to shelter in place as a man with a gun was being pursued by police. This came after a shootout involving multiple people — leading to a chase by Ithaca police. The Ice Hockey game was later cancelled, as well as a Cornell women’s basketball game.
Despite the cancellation, and because of that, not playing a game in 13 days, Defenseman Jessica DiGirolamo said there is a benefit.
“I mean, it’s something that we’re probably gonna have to live with, obviously,” DiGirolamo said. “Usually, our schedule’s kind of busy, and I know we have a very important month coming up. So, this break was good — kind of building together as a team — and we’re looking forward to this weekend.”
Head Coach Paul Flanagan said that rust can often be a factor when not playing for a while, but that it’s also not something to dwell on.
“We practiced hard last week, had the weekend off, and utilized the time off for rest and recovery,” Flanagan said. “We had a lot of kids — they’ve had sickness, they’ve had colds, and that kind of stuff, and a lot of just nagging injuries.”
As Syracuse prepped for this weekend’s matchups over the past fortnight, the team also welcomed numerous additions for the future. Six players committed to SU in the past week: Maya D’Arcy, Charlotte Hallett, Heidi Knoll, Mikayla Todd, Rhea Hicks, and Ariella Merlino.
All six players hail from the Canadian province of Ontario. Ariella Merlino, a goaltender, actually de-committed from Dartmouth to commit to Syracuse. D’Arcy, Hicks, Knoll, and Todd are all forwards — the only defenseman out of the new commits is Charlotte Hallett.
“We’re fortunate to have a couple of girls that have been involved in the Hockey Canada U-18 program,” Head Coach Paul Flanagan said.
For Flanagan, these commits mark a slow return to the recruiting process — something that hasn’t been as big in the past couple of years due to the pandemic.
“For us, we’re just getting back to seeing [prospects] again, this past fall,” Flanagan said. “We hadn’t seen them for a year and a half. And I haven’t seen them — I haven’t been up north. So, I think you see, with Brendon [Knight, Associate Head Coach] and Claudia [Kepler, Assistant Coach] been up there — to see how they’ve progressed, to see how they’ve grown. Because I can think back a few years ago, when these kids were 14 year olds, and we were having conversations.”