Evenly-Matched Syracuse and Penn State Tie at One
By David Edelstein
CitrusTV Ice Hockey Reporter
Less than 24 hours before Saturday’s game, Syracuse Head Coach Paul Flanagan said his team (6-17-2, 6-5-1 College Hockey America) and the Penn State team (10-10-5, 4-7-1 College Hockey America) were evenly-matched. Now, this sentiment is reflected on the scoreboard as the Orange and Nittany Lions tied, 1-1, in the Saturday matinee at Tennity Ice Pavilion.
It was a fast-paced game where the two teams utilized all of the ice. Both SU and PSU had odd-man rushes and frequent centering tries, along with 53 total saves by both goalies.
“Kudos to their goalie,” Flanagan said. “Maddi played well. I thought [Penn State’s] goalie had to make some great saves, particularly late when we had those two two-on-ones in overtime.”
The Orange also blocked 25 shots, SU’s second-most in a single game this season.
It was also one of the cleanest games Syracuse has played this year, where each team only committed one minor penalty through all 65 minutes of play. The Orange totaled only five penalties, all minors, between both games this weekend, a stark contrast from last Saturday’s loss to Robert Morris where Syracuse committed nine penalties totaling 26 minutes (eight minors and one 10-minute misconduct).
“It’s not too bad, seven power plays between two teams on a weekend. We usually take that on any given night, right?” Flanagan said.
It was a physical game despite having few penalties with players on both teams constantly on top of each other.
“That’s definitely conference play in general,” forward Lauren Bellefontaine said. “You play each team four times a season. The rivalry’s definitely there, so it’s a little more physical.”
“At the end of the day, you have to fight fire with fire, so to speak,” Flanagan said. “Keep it within the rules. It’s a real tough sport to play, because there’s that fine line where there is no body checking, but man is it physical.”
In the second period, Penn State defenseman Morgan Rolph got tangled up with Allie Munroe along the boards. During the second intermission, Rolph was seen putting on a boot, and after the game, Flanagan said she was in the locker room putting a splint on her ankle.
Already down to five defensemen with Lindsay Eastwood out, Syracuse lost Kristen Siermachesky to injury after she was hit hard against the corner boards in the first period. She briefly came back in the beginning of the second period but then sat out the rest of the game.
After the game, Flanagan said Siermachesky was heading to the hospital. The exact injury is not yet known.
“She probably should have laid on the ice, but she’s a tough kid,” Flanagan said. “If there’s anybody, she’s extremely strong. … You know hockey players, they always try to drag themselves off the ice. If it was a soccer player, he’d still be out there,”
The hit resembled one where a Penn State player hit Syracuse graduate defenseman Dakota Derrer, ending her season.
“To be honest with you, Dakota’s was, that was iffy, to be honest with you. … It wasn’t malicious, that one. This one here was a little more egregious,” Flanagan said. “I think you’ve gotta pull up. … When someone’s got their back turned to you, you can’t give it that little extra shot.”
Left with two pairings of defenseman—Munroe and sophomore Jessica DiGirolamo, plus junior Allie Olnowich and freshman Shelby Calof—the Orange defense played on alternating shifts.
“Quick shifts. Try not to stay out there too long, and if you have to, just make smart plays. … Try to distribute the puck and get up the ice when I can,” Munroe said. “And our forwards helped us out, too.”
“We ask a lot of those four. It’s something, I give those kids a lot of credit,” Flanagan said.
“They played unbelievable,” Bellefontaine said. “The coaches were proud, everyone was proud. They worked their butts off.”
Syracuse took seven shots in overtime compared to Penn State’s three, but none found the back of the net.
“We had a good third and a real good overtime, six, seven, eight great chances. That’s all you can ask,” Flanagan said. “You can’t dwell sometimes on the scoreboard. You just have to play and really work on the process.”
While the team said they were disappointed to not get the win, they also said they’ll take the one point.
“That could be a very important point in early March when we head down to Buffalo for the playoffs,” Flanagan said.
SU picked up three of four possible points this weekend and has earned five of eight possible points over the past four games. The Orange end regular season play against Penn State with a 3-0-1 record.
Syracuse returns to Tennity Ice Pavilion on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. to play Cornell.