Syracuse’s Hot Streak: By The Numbers
By Ben Spector
CitrusTV’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter
This season was a strange one for the Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey team. The Orange had a total of eight games postponed and even had a break that was over a month-long. However, with the CHA Tournament coming up this Thursday, Syracuse is heating up just at the right time. The numbers certainly prove that.
The Orange enter the CHA Tournament riding high. The team has won seven consecutive games, two of which were against the number two team in the conference Robert Morris. In last weekend’s two-game set against RMU, the Orange outscored the Colonials 7-2. This showed the entire conference that the Orange, on both ends of the ice, are hot and should not be taken for granted. This number was also two seconds away from potentially being eight. On February 6th against Mercyhurst, forward Sara Boucher scored a powerplay goal 19:58 into the third period to give the Lakers the victory. Even though the Orange couldn’t secure that victory, going into the tournament on a seven-game win streak is nothing to scoff at.
Casey Stangel, former manager of the New York Yankees, once said that if you don’t have a catcher, “…you’re going to have a lot of passed balls.” That iconic quote certainly applies to hockey. Without a goalie, a team would let in a lot of pucks. The Orange should be grateful to have Allison Small in between the pipes, as the senior has made eighty-four saves in two games against Robert Morris. This includes a forty-nine save performance on Saturday. It’s important for Syracuse to have a trustworthy and rested goaltender going into the CHA Tournament. Small has only played three of the last five games, and she has won each of those three contests. Not only is making so many saves a confidence booster for Small, but it also uplifts the entire team. If the five players on the ice trust that Small will make the necessary saves, it allows the game to open up a little for more offensive opportunities. Small’s recent dominating performance will only lead to more success for a red-hot Syracuse team.
In the middle of the seven-game win streak, Anna Leschyshyn had a three-game stretch where she put up a combined eight points (6 G, 2 A). Before that stretch, the forward only had six points on the year. If Syracuse could get Leschyshyn scoring at a consistent rate going into the tournament, that would add a whole new dynamic element to this offense. Leschyshyn stands at six feet tall, and her large frame helps her get to the net and bury rebounds. Add Leschyshyn to the list of Lauren Bellefontaine, Abby Moloughney, and Victoria Klimek as scoring threats to look out for this early March.
Syracuse enters the CHA Tournament as the fourth seed. The Orange face off against Lindenwood this Thursday night. The puck is set to drop at 7:30.
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