IHOC : Orange defense stifles Connecticut attack in weekend sweep

first_img Comments After Syracuse was called for a two-minute bench minor for having too many players on the ice at 14:04 in the second period Friday, Connecticut desperately tried to break out on the power play to cut into the Orange’s two-goal lead.But Connecticut couldn’t even manage a shot and failed to capitalize on the power-play opportunity after SU freshman forward Shiann Darkangelo lay out at the top of the zone to block a shot just seconds before SU returned to full strength.‘We had a couple penalty kills, and it seemed like we blocked 10 shots out there,’ senior Jessica Sorensen said Saturday. ‘It definitely just got the spirit up on the bench, and we kept it going.’SU’s defense and penalty kill unit led the Orange (5-6-0, 0-0 College Hockey America) to a weekend sweep of Connecticut (1-7-2, 1-1-0 Hockey East), winning 4-0 Friday in front of 164 and 2-1 Saturday in front of 263 at Tennity Ice Pavilion. The Orange smothered the Huskies’ nine power-play opportunities on the weekend and set up the offensive attack to spark SU to both victories.The Syracuse defense frustrated Connecticut from the drop of the puck on Friday, relying on physicality to secure its first shutout of the season. The Huskies’ frustration was also the result of an improved effort from the Orange penalty kill, which was tested often throughout the weekend.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU frequently found itself with a player in the box in both games and blocked multiple shots to end UConn’s scoring threats. Syracuse spent 18 minutes with a one- or two-player disadvantage due to its nine penalties.The Orange’s success blocking shots started at practice on Monday, when the defense practiced blocking shots on the penalty kill by shooting rolls of masking tape at each other, a drill designed for players to tame their fear of getting hit by the puck. Just four days later, the defense implemented the technique to perfection against Connecticut.‘Of course it’s fun in practice when you’re shooting tape at each other,’ freshman forward Allie LaCombe said. ‘But the concept is actually smart because you have to train yourself not to be afraid of the puck.’The SU defenders played composed during penalty kills and kept everything in front of them by maintaining good positioning. And as they had practiced with rolls of tape days earlier, the defenders frustrated Connecticut’s ‘BU-style’ power play, which isolates a player on the weakside for a one-time slap shot. They interfered with shooting lanes, which forced the Huskies’ forwards to shoot the puck wide of the net.That aggressive blocking technique was on display when Darkangelo and the SU defense stifled the UConn power play on Friday.On Saturday, Syracuse fended off another important Connecticut power-play opportunity when the Orange had two players sent to the box early in the second period. The defense pulled out all the stops on the two-player disadvantage and kept the Huskies’ lead to one goal. ‘You seize the momentum by killing that five-on-three, and we did a great job,’ head coach Paul Flanagan said. ‘That’s a lot of hard work and great goaltending.’Flanagan and his players credited the tremendous defensive play to their much improved penalty kill effort. The Orange was clicking defensively, which led to quality shots and possessions on the offensive end. The SU defensive effort was backed by solid play between the pipes. The Orange’s two-goalie system, with sophomores Kallie Billadeau and Jenesica Drinkwater, kept the Huskies’ forwards in check and made 17 saves and 22 saves, respectively. They also sparked the offense with outlet passes that Flanagan called ‘textbook cycling.’But the Syracuse defenders’ biggest contribution came on the penalty kill. They blocked plenty of shots when they needed to and helped the Orange overcome its mistakes to beat the Huskies.‘We made mistakes, but we recovered well, and that’s a good sign,’ Flanagan said. ‘We had a great attitude for 60 minutes.’awmirmin@syr.edu Published on October 30, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Alicia Hansen the latest to carry Syracuse’s offense in 2-0 win over Colgate

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ On Monday, Sammy Fernandez’s three hits and three runs powered the Orange in its 4-2 victory over Cornell.Two days prior, Rachel Burkhardt’s last-gasp heroics saved Syracuse against North Carolina, as the senior’s walk-off solo-shot was the sole run in a 1-0 win.Both Alexa Romero and AnnaMarie Gatti allowed three hits or fewer in shutout performances when SU swept North Carolina State two weekends ago.Recently, it has taken stellar individual performances to drag the Orange to victory. That trend continued on Wednesday, as Alicia Hansen powered both RBI as Syracuse (30-19, 9-12 Atlantic Coast) downed Colgate (11-29, 6-9 Patriot), 2-0, on a gloomy night at Skytop Softball Stadium as SU closed out its regular season. Game two of the doubleheader was cancelled after three-and-a-half innings due to rain.“Softball’s one of those things where you just can’t dictate who’s gonna have the opportunity when the game is on the line,” head coach Mike Bosch said. “We need to have (batters) one through nine having that mindset that it’s going to be their opportunity, their time to get it done.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe victory marked 10 of 11 for Syracuse, which will head to Atlanta, Georgia, in the coming days for the ACC tournament, which begins on May 9. While SU has garnered success from individual standout games of late, it knows it will take a collective, balanced effort to prosper in the postseason.On Wednesday, Syracuse followed suit to another one of its recent trends: scoring early. In three of its last five contests prior to Wednesday, the Orange scored at least two runs in the first inning en route to victory. Hansen was the provider of such runs against Colgate, as the junior helped build a lead in the first two innings that SU never gave up.To open the bottom of the first, Fernandez tripled down the right field line to give the home team its 21st triple of the season, the joint-second best clip in Division I. Hansen, the next batter, blooped a single to left field, which dropped well short of Colgate left fielder Olivia LaQua. Fernandez scored from third with ease, giving SU an early one-run advantage.“It’s a lot easier to know you’re going into something with the lead and you have breathing room,” Gatti said. “The bats were alive, they were kind of silent after that. But that gives me a lot of breathing room because we know they’re there for the day.”Just as she did in her two starts versus North Carolina State, Gatti was dominant once Syracuse jumped out to an early lead. The senior pitched her third consecutive complete game at home, a mark she failed to reach in any of her first 17 starts of the season. After allowing a double to Meghan Romero in the top of the first, Gatti retired 16-straight hitters over a 5 1/3 inning span.The Orange’s sent six batters to the plate in the first and did the same in the second inning. Neli Casares-Maher, who returned after missing the last 13 games, walked to open the inning. Colgate pitcher Kyle Griswold proceeded to walk SU’s next two batters, Michala Maciolek and Fernandez, before Hansen stepped up with the bases loaded.The junior hit a high pop-up to center field, where it was caught by Colgate’s Mia Guevarra a couple of feet from the warning track. Guevarra opted not to fling the ball home, allowing Casares-Maher to trot in peacefully from third for Syracuse’s second run in as many innings.“We’re a team that can rely on every person to do their job,” Hansen said. “We can just work on little things. That means just base hits, advancing runners. Everyone can contribute to that.”As the final four-and-a-half innings progressed, zero after zero appeared on the scoreboard. Neither team had a runner advance past second base, as Gatti, Griswold and Colgate relief pitcher Jessica Hay tamed the opposing side. The ball rarely reached the outfield as each pitcher consistently forced ground balls that both sets of infielders dealt with routinely.Although SU’s current production on offense has led to wins, Bosch believes that is not the formula for success in its potential matchup against any of the ACC’s top teams. It will need contributions from more than just one or two players, including the bottom half of the lineup, something Bosch emphasized.“You’ve seen various people in the lineup do that,” Bosch said about SU’s recent reliance on individual performances. “You get to the 7-8-9 hitters in the order in the bottom of the seventh, we’re gonna need those people to win it. We can’t turn the lineup over and get to Sammy, Alicia or Bryce.” Comments Published on May 2, 2018 at 10:05 pm Contact David: ddschnei@syr.edulast_img read more