Syracuse Can’t Get Offense Going Late, Fall to Penn State 2-1

Saturday, Dec 05, 2020 at 4:44 pm by Sports Editor

By Tyler Melito

CitrusTV’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After having its previously scheduled game against RIT postponed because of COVID-19, Syracuse looked extremely rusty, despite playing just a week ago. The Orange got completely dominated on offense in their first of four straight games against Penn State. The Nittany Lions outshot SU 78-35. It was this performance that allowed Penn State (3-0, 3-0 College Hockey America) to ultimately be able to come out with the victory over Syracues (1-3, 1-1 CHA), 2-1.

SU would strike first when Victoria Klimek scored with a little over 11 minutes left in the first period. It was Klimek’s second goal of the season, tying her for the team lead through four games.

Penn State, however, would bounce back just minutes later, when Oliva Wallin tied things up. It was Wallin’s first goal of the season, as well as the first goal of her Nittany Lion career, skating in her first game for the team.

After one period of play, it seemed that these two teams were fairly evenly matched. The Orange had 21 total shots, 15 of which were on goal. The Nittany Lions had 22 shots, 14 on net. Both teams also won nine faceoffs during the first period and it seemed that those watching were in for a good one. If you get where I am going however, that was simply not the case.

In the second period, Penn State came out firing and had the petal to the metal, applying the pressure on the offensive end to Syracuse’s defense. In all, the Nittany Lions had 28 shots during the period, 14 on goal, while the ‘Cuse had just eight shots total. The two squads were still tied at one however entering the final minute of the period. That changed when Kiara Zanon scored what would end up being the game winning goal for PSU with just ten seconds left in the period.

Third period was not much better for the Orange as the Nittany Lions once again had 28 total shots and 14 on net. The Orange, on the other hand, only had six. Not going to get the job done when you want to mount a comeback.

To add insult to injury for SU, Rayla Clemons, who scored two goals in the Orange’s first game of the season against Colgate, left the game in the first period after hitting the ice hard. She stayed down on the ice for an extended period of time and ultimately needed to be helped off the ice by two of her teammates and was taken to the locker room. She would not return to the game and her absence may be an extended one, depending on the severity of the injury.

The lone bright spot for Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan and his squad was the play of Allison Small in goal. Small had 39 saves and allowed just the two goals for a save percentage of 95.1%, continuing what has been a strong start of the season for her.

Penn State is now 3-0 on the season, as well in CHA play after winning today and their first two games of the season against Lindenwood. Syracuse with the loss falls to 1-3 on the year, 1-1 in CHA action. These two teams will go back at it on Sunday, where the Orange will look to turn things around, while the Nittany Lions will try and make it four straight wins to start the season. | @MelitoTyler