Survive and Advance: Syracuse Upsets Penn State in the Semifinal
By Ben Spector
CitrusTV’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter
Al Michaels had the famous line when the United States beat the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the 1980 Winter Olympics: “Do you believe in miracles?” Syracuse certainly does, as SU (12-8-1, 8-6-1 CHA) upset Penn State (16-3-2, 16-2-2 CHA) 3-2 earlier this afternoon. This win extends the Orange’s win streak to nine. Allison Small made 24 saves on 26 shots in the victory.
The first period offered a conservative style of play from both sides. Each team was just trying to get pucks in deep and do work on the forecheck. However, some puck luck broke the tie with just three minutes left in the first period. Forward Madison Beishuizen shot the puck from the left circle, which deflected off a defender and bounced across the goal line. Beishuizen’s goal is her first of the year, and it gave SU a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Syracuse dominated the beginning of the second period. The Orange were controlling the tempo and maintained puck possession. SU got two quick powerplays in the first five minutes and converted on the second. Anna Leschyshyn gobbled up a rebound from the left side of the net to extend the lead to two. This is Leschyshyn’s first goal of the tournament and her first point since her three-game point streak last week. However, the Orange were not done piling on the offense. Emma Polaski scored on a 2-on-1 late in the second period that she took herself. At first, the referee said that the puck did not cross the line. After review though, it was determined that the puck hit the post and the back of the net and bounced out. Polaski’s fifth goal of the season gave Syracuse a 3-0 lead at the second break.
In the third period, Penn State made a real push to tie this game up. Almost immediately, Forward Olivia Wallin scored from the slot to make it only a two-goal deficit for the Nittany Lions. Wallin struck again midway through the period to make the deficit one, but that did not faze Syracuse. A strong defensive stand helped Syracuse survive and advance to the final.
The Orange will play the winner of the Mercyhurst (10-6-1, 10-6-1 CHA) vs. Robert Morris (14-7-1, 11-7-1 CHA) matchup that takes place later today at 7:30. The final is tomorrow night at 6.
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