WICE falls to Mercyhurst in late heartbreaker
By Luke McGrath
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Senior captain Jessica Sibley skated down the ice, determined to give the Orange a chance to take down Mercyhurst.
On a pass from line mate Alysha Burriss, Sibley scored just her second goal of the season with under three minutes to play in the game.
Sibley’s goal put the orange down just one goal as the momentum began to turn in Syracuse’s favor.
Less than a minute later, the Orange’s leading scorer Stephanie Grossi found the puck right in front of net after a Lindsay Eastwood shot.
Grossi did not let the opportunity slip away. She buried the puck past Mercyhurst goaltender Jessica Convery and Syracuse was in business.
The Orange looked determined to sweep Mercyhurst in a weekend series for the first time in program history.
45 seconds later, a penalty was called on Grossi who moments later had been the hero for tying the game at two.
Grossi was called for body checking on a play that made most of the crowd erupt in violent disagreement with the call.
Moments into the Lakers power play, the Orange squandered their chance at a comeback for the ages.
Jillian Skinner was the hero for Mercyhurst burying a rebound surrendered by goaltender Abbey Miller into the back of the net.
Syracuse was deflated. Head coach Paul Flanagan called a time out after the goal to try to refocus his squad, but was unable to get his team back on track.
In the remaining 49 seconds the Orange was unable to produce any offense, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of a team that desperately wanted to move closer to a first round bye in the CHA tournament.
Head coach Paul Flanagan says it is extremely difficult to sweep a weekend series.
“There’s a little bit of a psychological burrier working against the team that wins Friday night,” Flanagan said. “You just wonder if subconsciously the kids sit back a little bit.”
Goaltender Abbey Miller, who had a shutout Friday but allowed three goals on Saturday, agrees with what her coach said.
“I think sometimes you think ‘oh we won last night’ and especially winning three to nothing like that was a pretty big win. I think we just over looked them and thought we had it in the bag today [Satuday],” Miller said.
Next up for the Orange is a home and home series versus RIT this upcoming weekend. Saturday will be the last home game of the season.