Penalties uproot Syracuse’s fast start in 6-2 loss to No. 2 Clarkson

first_imgFor the first 10 minutes of Friday’s game, Syracuse overpowered last year’s national champions. But then it went down a player.With time winding down in the first period, Clarkson controlled possession for the final minute. The Tigers’ shot and kept firing. When it didn’t go in, Clarkson took over on faceoffs. Eventually, SU goalie Ady Cohen knew a shot was coming every couple of seconds, she said.Michaela Pejzlova gathered Clarkson’s third-straight missed shot and passed it back to keep possession. As the puck scurried away from her, she cut to the outside and was free. The rest of the Orange were too close in. So Pejzlova led a charge uncontested, beating Cohen in the process to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead, one they never lost.“We kinda backed off which let the girl walk out,” Cohen said. “She had the option to pass behind the net, go back door, shoot it, all that. It’s really hard to read that down a player.”Syracuse’s eight penalties on Friday night at Tennity Ice Pavilion, including four in the first period, hindered it from going on an offensive run. Its forfeitures caused the Orange to lean on their defense in player disadvantages, and though SU defended its opposing power plays well, its penalties caused them to play back even when it was down. Syracuse (2-5, 2-2 College Hockey America) couldn’t come back against No. 2 Clarkson (6-1), 6-2, because its strategy on penalty kills negated forward play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“In that sense a power play stop should help us,” redshirt senior Brooke Avery said, “but it was still tough because we’re all back.”Avery wasn’t used to working on penalties in practices even in her third season at SU. She said the team hasn’t practiced penalty kills defense that much until this week rolled around. Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan highlighted it in his practice agenda because SU has been down a player a lot recently.“Based on our history in the first six games, we are a very penalized team,” Avery said. “Honestly, it’s not something we want to do but in the end it is what it is.”And for the first 10 minutes on Friday, SU was breaking its trend. After a defenseless slapshot goal from CU, the Orange responded in the form of Avery’s stick. All the while, Syracuse maintained the bulk of the early possessions over the No. 2 team in the nation.At one apiece, both teams were evenly matched until the referee’s whistle started blowing. Ten minutes in, Allie Munroe was called for hooking, and seconds into the power play, Kristen Siermachesky was called for tripping giving the Tigers a five-on-three advantage.“They had two five-on-threes tonight,” Avery said. “That should never happen.”But SU left unscathed on the scoreboard in due part to its player-down lineup which features its top players in penalty-kill situations. Though SU held tight defensively in those situations, its disadvantage came from having its best three or four players tired for five-on-five play later on, Flanagan said.Its starters were off the ice after these two minute moments, making SU’s offense stagnant in ensuing play. Following a contested first period where SU was charged with four penalties, it was forced to use other lineups to combat the lengthy play of its best players earlier. What ensued, Flanagan called “as bad of hockey as I’ve seen in a long time by a team.”“It just defuses everything in terms of what we’re trying to do offensively,” Flanagan said. “The penalties, and like I said, when we’re back on our heels, I just noticed we started to play a lot of one-on-one and freelancing.”The Orange couldn’t play forward as a result. SU’s better players would push the tempo, forcing the Tigers to play back. But when its second and third lineups were playing after penalty kills where SU was forced to slide backward, they struggled to move up the ice.Turnovers mounted into two-on-one fast breaks leaving Cohen helpless. Clarkson players toyed with her, knowing she was anticipating a shot everytime the puck crossed the blue line. Because of earlier penalties, Syracuse turned a one-point deficit to four.Eventually, the drain on players like Munroe and Avery wore off into the latter stages of the second, translating into better play in the third period. SU bolted back to its earlier standards as both teams scored a goal each in the final period. Flanagan finally saw three completed passes in five-on-five play in the third, something he said didn’t witness all game.If the Orange would’ve played a clean game, they could’ve emulated the back and forth play from its first 10 minutes of play, Flanagan said. Without its discrepancy in its cluster of penalties, the result could’ve been much closer.“There were times later in the game that we were just running around like a dog chasing its tail,” Flanagan said. “And we have to be better than that. Our kids know better.” Comments Published on October 26, 2018 at 10:45 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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