Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey Loses in First-Ever NCAA Tournament Appearance
By David Edelstein
CitrusTV Ice Hockey Reporter
MADISON, Wis.—Syracuse ice hockey appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history on Saturday. However, they could not keep their momentum from the end of the season going, losing 4-0 to first-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals, consequently ending SU’s season. The eighth-seeded Orange (13-22-3, 10-8-2 College Hockey America) played the Badgers (33-4-2-0, 18-4-2-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) for the third time this season, this time in front of an even-larger sold-out crowd of 2,423 people at LaBahn Arena.
In many respects, this was a stronger NCAA Tournament debut than the final score indicates. The Orange was outscored by 13 goals in two losses earlier this season. ‘Cuse goalie Ady Cohen kept the Orange in the game. She made a career-high 43 saves on 47 attempted shots, but she just didn’t have enough help around her to get a victory.
Cohen kept Wisconsin scoreless through the first period despite the Badgers outshooting the Orange 14-4. There was no score at the first intermission.
It was in the second period when Syracuse’s skaters begin to look tired that Wisconsin opened scoring. Annie Pankowski scored twice in the frame. Her first goal, coming 2:33 into the period, went over Cohen’s left shoulder in the top right corner of the net while using Jessica DiGirolamo as a screen. Pankowski found an open lane in front of the goal from a few feet out to put her second goal past Cohen’s left side with 8:41 left in the period.
By the start of the third period, Wisconsin led 33-9 in shots on goal and led in faceoff wins 25-16.
The Badgers tacked on two more goals in period three to increase their lead to 4-0. Abby Roque scored on a wraparound to Cohen’s right side with 7:44 remaining in regulation and Presley Norby added an insurance goal to Cohen’s left from a few feet in front of the crease with 1:07 still to play.
Syracuse had three power play opportunities in the game with a total of five shots on goal but did not score.
The Orange—which averaged more than 31 shots per game over its last 10 games—was outshot by the Badgers 47-15 at the end of the game.
This marks the final game for five of Syracuse’s graduating players: defender and team captain Allie Munroe, forward Sarah Stuehr, defender Dakota Derrer, forward Brooke Avery and goaltender Maddi Welch.
The graduating seniors have a lot to be proud of this season. Syracuse secured the last spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the CHA championship, automatically earning the eighth seed. This was the first time in the 11 years of the team’s existence that the Orange won the conference title, despite playing in the championship six times prior to this season.
Despite the loss, this season was a game changer for the Orange and serves as a reminder that they can have the potential to compete in March.