Orange overwhelmed

The SU women's ice hockey team was overwhelmed by Clarkson, losing 3-2 at Tennity Ice Pavilion.

The band played fight songs and drummed marching beats while fans cheered for their team at Friday night’s Syracuse women’s ice hockey game. The fans, which filled half the bleachers at Tennity Ice Complex on Syracuse’s South Campus, sang fight songs and chanted cheers that helped lead their team to victory.

The oddity in this is that members of the band and accompanying fans were wearing green and yellow. They weren’t cheering for the Orange. They traveled from Clarkson University to support their players on the ice.

Just as Clarkson’s cheering section often overpowered Syracuse in the stands, the Knights overwhelmed the Orange on the ice Friday evening.

Outworked and out-skated for much of the contest, Syracuse suffered its third defeat in a row with a 3-2 loss against Clarkson. Isabel Menard’s two goals were the bright spot in an otherwise tepid game.

After a scoreless first period, the Orange got on the board first. Syracuse’s power play, which has improved to 18th in the nation, struck two and a half minutes into the second period. Menard’s shot from the point fluttered past Golden Knight goalie Lauren Dahm.

Clarkson overpowered Syraucse for much of the contest, beating the Orange to the puck, clogging passing lanes and playing a physical game.  

“They won a fair share of the battles for the first 45 minutes of the game, well into the third period,” Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said. “I think they wanted it more.”

The night was the first matchup between the two teams, but each exchanged game tape and could anticipate each other’s game. Syracuse, however, continued to play an overly-finesse game against a bigger, more physical Clarkson.

“I don’t know if our kids thought they were going to go out there and out-skill them, but we played like that for the first two periods,” Flanagan said. “We have to recognize that you can’t get outworked.” 

The Knights responded with three unanswered goals. Syracuse goalie Kallie Billadeau allowed three goals on 24 shots in her fourth start of the season, but none of the goals against were straight shots. The first Clarkson goal came seconds after a 5-on-3 ended, and the puck was deflected into the net. The freshman was screened on the latter two goals.

“We can’t control the bounces,” Billadeau said. “We’ve been an unlucky team so far this season.”

Down by two goals with 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Orange began to play their best hockey of the night. Menard’s second tally of the night was a one-man effort. The sophomore, who leads the team in points and ranks 21st among all NCAA players in points per game, picked up the puck in the neutral zone, carried it across the blue line and through a sea of green and yellow defenders.  

“I just saw an opening and went for it,” Menard said. “I didn’t really know where it was going. I just shot the puck and figured it would either go in or I would get the rebound.”

The Orange encountered a scary moment in the second period. Captain and high-scoring center Stefanie Marty suffered a hit against the boards during a Syracuse power play. Hunched over, Marty left the ice and was examined by the trainers for a shoulder injury. She returned for the rest of the game, however, and Flanagan said she was not seriously injured.

Syracuse’s next game is Nov. 12 against the same Clarkson Knights. The main thing the coaching staff wants to see change doesn’t come from more on-ice drills or watching tape. It comes from the players themselves.

“Our work ethic,” Flanagan said when asked what needs to be different before tackling the Knights again. “We have to get a better focus.”

Game notes: Prior to Friday’s game, SU was 4-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the game…The Orange has scored 8 power play goals this season (.178)…Although Syracuse has only allowed 6 of its 31 goals against in the first period, it has allowed 14 in the final stanza. 

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