After a slow start, Syracuse has turned a corner in conference play

first_imgOn Nov. 4, after a 4-3 home loss to No. 2 Boston College, Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan’s dejected tone represented the state of affairs for the Orange. Nine games in and entering conference play, SU had one win.“Close but no cigar, that’s the old saying,” Flanagan said after the narrow loss. “We’re getting a little sick of that.”Syracuse struggled to close out games in nonconference play, ranking 31 out of 40 teams in the NCAA in penalty kill percentage. The Orange had struggled in key moments throughout the early part of the season, squandering a lead against Boston College twice and blowing an overtime game to Providence.Four games and three wins later, SU’s season appears to have avoided flat lining.Syracuse (4-7-2, 3-0-1 College Hockey America) struggled to begin the season against top opponents, but has since won three of four to open up conference play. After scoring nine times in its first nine games, SU has 14 goals over the last four games. Syracuse looks to continue its resurgence when it hosts Lindenwood (2-9-1, 2-4-0) this weekend at Tennity Ice Pavilion.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We were gaining confidence in those nonconference games,” Flanagan said. “Whether or not we were getting wins, our kids were getting more comfortable with their line mates and their defensive pairings.”The Orange opened the season with a difficult nonconference schedule, as seven of its first nine games came against opposition ranked inside the USCHO.com top 10 — No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 2 Boston College, No. 10 Providence and then-No. 9 Northeastern. This slate allowed the Orange to understand what needed improving before the beginning of CHA play, junior defender Allie Munroe said.“Playing those good teams at the start definitely helped prepare us for what we’ve come into so far this season,” redshirt junior Brooke Avery added.After three games, the Orange attack had failed to put in a single goal. It led to SU crashing the net more frequently, searching for rebounds and deflections or miscues from opposing defenses. While that created more opportunities, it also allowed opposing teams to take advantage on defensive-zone breakouts, Flanagan said.Yet, once SU began to face CHA opposition, scoring came easier, Munroe said. The Orange ranks second in the CHA in total goals with 14, behind only No. 9 Robert Morris (22).“We’re getting our chemistry going,” Avery said. “We struggled with that at the beginning but we’re getting better at it now.”SU currently sits second behind Robert Morris in the CHA standings, three points back of the Colonials. Having played two fewer games than Robert Morris, the Orange has an opportunity to surpass RMU if it wins both games against Lindenwood this weekend.Still, even at the points where Syracuse struggled, the ultimate objective for the Orange is to reach another CHA title game and win the first conference title in program history.“Winning the CHA is the goal,” Munroe said. “We want the title of being the most consistent and dominant team in the conference.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm Contact Adam: [email protected] | @_adamhillmanlast_img

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