Staunch Offense Leads Syracuse Into New Year
By Tyler Melito
CitrusTV’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter
If you recall my story from last week, I said that offensive consistency could make or break Syracuse’s season in terms of making it back to a College Hockey America title game, and even beyond. Let me be clear, that fact still holds true. There is something, however, from this season as a whole, and from the Orange’s two games this past weekend against Penn State specifically, that could mean a lot of success on the offensive end of the ice for the remainder of this season.
The ‘Cuse has concluded the 2020 portion of the 2020-2021 season, ending what has been a Morgan Wallen like, Up Down kind of year with a 4-2 win over the Nittany Lions on Saturday December 12. During the weekend slate with PSU, Syracuse scored a total of seven goals. Of those seven goals, five of them were scored by a different member of Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan’s roster.
Regardless of sport, any coach would love to get that level of spreading the wealth amongst its players as it pertains to offensive production. Although at times a team can get away with one star player dominating the offensive production, even the greatest of offensive players cannot carry a team to a title. Look at Michael Jordan in basketball, who did not win an NBA title until the Chicago Bulls acquired Scottie Pippen. Or even Wayne Gretzky, who is without question the greatest offensive player in all of hockey history. He did not win his first Stanley Cup until his fifth year in the league once the Edmonton Oilers surrounded him with the pieces necessary to win a title, despite him putting up extremely gaudy numbers his first few years in the National Hockey League.
Syracuse this season, although their offense needs to be more consistent, has been diversifying their portfolio, if you will, immensely well on offense, which has resulted in them scoring 20 goals through their first seven games, an average of about 2.86 per game. That is the sixth most goals scored in the entire country this season, and eighth most goals scored per game in the nation.
The Orange have scored 20 goals this season, and they are led by Victoria Klimek and Abby Molougney, who have five and four goals respectively on the year. SU has a total of nine different goal scorers this season. Four different players have scored more than one goal in the early going of the season. The breakdown of Syracuse goal scorers go as follows (per Cuse.com):
- Klimek 5 goals
- Moloughney: 4 goals
- Emma Polaski: 3 goals
- Rayla Clemons & Sarah Thompson: 2 goals each
- Lauren Bellefontaine, Kristen Siermachesky, Jessica DiGirolamo, & Marielle McHale: 1 goal each.
The Orange have gotten this kind of production, all while mind you, some of their top goal scorers from the 2019-2020 season are either no longer on the team, or in the case of Mae Batherson, Anna Leschyshyn, and Brynn Koocher, each of whom who scored six goals a year ago, have yet to put a puck into the back of the net this year.
Do I think that Syracuse has solved all their issues on offense? Certainly not, and I am really curious as to how the holiday break either helps or hurts their offensive attack. I do think however that if the Orange can continue this spreading of the puck and get as many of their players involved on offense, they can really turn around what has been a slow start for them sitting at 2-4-1 overall and 2-2-1 in their conference.
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