Syracuse’s Last Series was an Absolute Brawl

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm by Sports Editor

By John Dales

Citrus TV Women’s Ice Hockey Beat Reporter

Good ole’ fashioned hate was on display at the Tennity Ice Pavilion this past weekend. Syracuse’s series against Lindenwood was played like one of the great rivalries fans never knew existed. Tenacity, aggression, and pure disdain for an opponent was on full display like it was a late November afternoon and Ohio State was playing Michigan on the gridiron. 

Mae Batherson said it best after Friday night’s 3-2 SU victory over the Lions, “Every game in our league is tight, and every team hates each other.” This weekend set in particular though was quite obviously more intense than pretty much every other game the Orange have played this year. This begs the question of why would Lindenwood (5-21-3, 3-13-0 Collegiate Hockey America) and Syracuse (12-16-2, 10-4-2 CHA) have such a dislike for each other? Truthfully, they really aren’t fierce rivals despite being in the same conference. This weekend’s aggressiveness can be attributed back to when these two teams faced off back in December.

Before those two games, Lindenwood was at DEFCON 1 defensively. The Lions were without their starting goalie or a natural backup at the position. So for an important early-season CHA game, Lindenwood would have to play forwards in goal. In game 1 of the weekend doubleheader, forward Cierra Paisley started in net for the Lions. Things did not work out well for the Lions. SU’s offense got hot, and rolled to a 7-0 victory. The ensuing day was even worse. LU’s Madilynn Hickey started in net, and got absolutely bombarded by the Orange offense. Syracuse coasted to a 13-1 blowout win. Losing by an aggregate of 20-1 at home was likely the precursor for the ill-will on display this past weekend. No team likes to lose, but when they start to feel like the opponent may be running up the score, that’s where the anger sets in.

That anger was on full display this weekend, and it wasn’t one-sided. The Orange were not going to get constantly pushed around and hit after the whistle on their home ice without retaliating. By the time the final buzzer sounded on Saturday evening, the two teams combined for 19 penalties over the weekend, one of which was a five minute major for cross-checking that kept SU’s Abby Moloughney writhing in pain on the ice for several minutes. To put things in perspective, Syracuse’s previous weekend series against RIT yielded a total of ten combined penalties.

On top of those 19, there were plenty of plays that could have been called a penalty, but weren’t. Whether it was the officials simply missing it, or not wanting to extend an already long game with yet another whistle for a penalty, there were times that players were bumped into the boards or onto the ice and no trip to the penalty box ensued.

In the end though, this really is not a problem. Although some penalties try do away with this at the NCAA level, hockey was in theory made to be a contact sport. Getting hit or simply exchanging pushes with an opponent gets an athlete’s competitive juices flowing. Lindsay Eastwood attested to this after Saturday’s game. Games where it’s evident the two teams do not like each other, and that manifests itself in a couple clean hits, are what get fans excited. Like it or not, that is a big reason for the draw towards football. Dirty plays where players are just getting leveled after the whistle have no place in the game, but a few clean shots get the athletes revved up, and keep fans on the edge of their seat. This weekend, it kept an 8-0 blowout on Saturday in must-watch territory all the way until the end. | @JohnDales_