Orange Fall to Undefeated Nittany Lions in Overtime
By Tyler Melito
CitrusTV’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter
After having a 0-1-1 record against Penn State(4-0-1, 4-0-1 College Hockey America) in State Park last weekend, one would think that Syracuse(1-4-1, 1-2-1 CHA) would be able to bounce back against the Nittany Lions as they returned to Tennity Ice Pavilion. That would not be the case however as the Orange fell to PSU 4-3 in overtime, despite having a two goal advantage entering the final period of play.
For the first time all season, the Orange did not score a goal in the first period. In fact, compared to the first period of last week’s games, it was a slow period for both squads. Last weekend, Syracuse had 47 shots in the first period total, with 35 on net. Not to mention they had three goals in the first period of last week’s games against Penn State. This week, SU was only able to muster 11 shots total in the first period with zero goals in the first period.
On the flip side, the Nittany Lions and 26 shots on goal on 39 total shots last week in the first period. They only had 10 on Friday. They were however able to get the lone goal of the first period, when Maeve Connolly scored the first goal of her college career.
The downfall for Syracuse prior to this game had been the second and third period where their offense really took a hit. On this night though, the Orange seemed to find lightning in a bottle, scoring three goals in the period. Tatum White scored the first goal of her college career to put SU on the board and tying things at one. Then you had senior captain Jessica DiGirolamo scoring her first goal of the season to give Syracuse the lead. Follow that up with Abby Moloughney scoring her second goal of the season to give the ‘Cuse a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.
After tonight, Syracuse now has 11 different players who have scored at least one goal through six games this season. When asked about it postgame, Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan would say “I think everyone feels better about themselves on getting involved.”
All of that would not matter though at the end of the day, as in the final 23 minutes, Syracuse scored zero goals to Penn State’s three, as the Nittany Lions were able to mount a comeback. Just 45 seconds into the third period, PSU was able to cut the Orange lead in half after Julie Gough seized the opportunity and it was with this goal, all the momentum shifted in the direction of Penn State. Natalie Heising at the halfway point in the period tied things up with a backhand shot past Allison Small.
Small would delay Penn State from taking a lead for a little while, as after a penalty shot was awarded to Heising with 3:19 in the third, Small went full Mutombo on the shot, blocking it. At the end of the day however, Kiara Zanon did her best Paul Pierce impression by calling game in overtime, capping off the comeback.
As mentioned, it is the third time this season that SU has blown a two goal lead entering the third period. When asked, Flanagan would point to the defense for why this may be the case. “A lot of our downfall has been our play away from the puck from a defensive perspective.” To be fair however, Flanagan would also mention that it is not something he and his staff have been chastising his players for, as the team recognizes the issue at hand.
Syracuse will get another crack at Penn State on Saturday. The Orange will look to avoid going winless against the Nittany Lions during their four game series. PSU will look to continue their unbeaten streak so far in the early season.
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