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Saturday, Dec 02, 2017 at 2:09 am

Women’s Ice Hockey Defeats Lindenwood 4-1

By Sam Rothman

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey could not find the back of the net in its first three games of the season. Now, in its last three matchups, the Orange has recorded 13 goals. Syracuse’s improved offense was evident in its 4-1 win over Lindenwood on Friday.

The Orange came flying out the gate, with freshman Victoria Klimek scoring just 1:36 after puck drop. Her linemate Alysha Burriss fed her the puck from behind the net and Klimek snuck it past Lindenwood goaltender Jolene deBruyn to give Syracuse the 1-0 lead.

Halfway through the first period, Sarah Stuehr fanned on a pass coming out of the defensive zone and turned the puck over to the Lions for its first offensive possession of the game. Lindenwood was able to spend some time in the Syracuse zone and recorded two shots on goal. However, both attempts were denied by goaltender Abbey Miller and Syracuse kept the one goal advantage.

The Orange added to its lead late in the first period after dominating play. With 4:30 left in the period, forward Brooke Avery found the back of the net and scored her sixth goal of the season. Just a minute later, defenseman Lindsay Eastwood found Sarah Stuehr alone in front and she put the puck past deBruyn for her first goal of the season.

“It felt great to contribute,” said Stuehr. “The first two lines usually get most of the goals for us. But we are starting to get more goals which is great.”

Right after Syracuse’s third goal, Kristen Siermachesky was called for interference. Although Syracuse has improved its offense, it still struggles with its discipline after establishing the lead. However, the Orange’s strong penalty kill allowed it to take the 3-0 advantage into the locker room after the first period.

Head coach Paul Flanagan said he wanted his team to get the offense going early and grab the lead.

“We wanted to be really aggressive,” said Flanagan. “I thought we did a real good job with that in the first period, and that was definitely our game plan.”

Syracuse continued that game plan in the second period. After spending most of the period in the Lindenwood zone, forward Kelli Rowswell put in Savannah Rennie’s rebound with 11:14 left in the period. The Orange closed out the second period leading the Lions 4-0, and also led in shots 10-4.

The Lions began applying some pressure in the third period, trying to cut into the Orange’s lead. Forward Taylor Girard, who leads her team in scoring with eight goals, was all alone in front of Abbey Miller halfway through the period. But Miller stretched out her pads for the kicksave and kept the Lions scoreless.

Syracuse then had a chance on the opposite end of the ice as Emma Polaski got past both Lindenwood defenders. She also could not capitalize as deBruyn saved her shot. Both teams traded chances, but both shots were denied by the goaltenders.

However, Girard scored just moments later to spoil Miller’s shutout with six minutes left in regulation. Then she took a penalty since Syracuse was already on the power play, giving Syracuse an opportunity to extend its lead on a five-on-three in the final minutes of the game. However, the Orange was not able to capitalize on the two-man advantage and ended up with the 4-1 win.

After starting the season 1-7-1, Syracuse has posted an undefeated 4-0-1 record in conference play. Flanagan said it is great to see Syracuse’s hard work down the stretch lead to wins against league opponents.

“We were a little frustrated with our record early on, but I think we played some really good hockey, ” he said. “There are definitely a couple of games we would like to have back. But I think staying true to our system and having a good solid work ethic early on is now starting to pay off.”

Syracuse hopes to continue its strong offensive play in its rematch against Lindenwood on Saturday.