Syracuse defense stifles Lindenwood, helps Orange snare opening game of series

first_img Published on March 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman The Syracuse counterattack excelled in it’s opening playoff round on Friday night.SU (19-13-3, 9-8-3 College Hockey America) stifled Lindenwood (5-25-3, 5-13-2) with four consecutive goals before the Lions got on the board, and the Orange took the game 4-1 and is up 1-0 in the best-of-three series.Lidenwood was held to single-digit shot totals every period and was forced to take multiple shots from tough angles thanks to the defensive presence of Syracuse for the entire 60 minutes. The defense stood its ground for nearly eight minutes of penalty kill, yielding only one shot. “We try to bottle things up and not let anything get started,” head coach Paul Flanagan said, “And tonight we did a good job of forcing their shots from the outside.”The Lions are a familiar opponent for the Orange. The teams met four times during the regular season, and SU won three of the four matches while not allowing more than two goals in any of the games. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Lindenwood and SU played just two weeks ago, Syracuse handicapped the Lions offense similarly to how it did on Friday. Lindenwood only mustered 32 shots in both games combined, and their offensive struggles carried over into the power play as well. SU has shut out Lindenwood in the past 22 consecutive power play minutes.“We made some adjustments focusing on their power play,” junior defender Kallie Goodnough said, “and tonight we came back and defended their power play pretty well.”Flanagan thinks the recent successes against the Lions definitely played to his team’s advantage, creating some momentum and confidence before the puck was dropped. Syracuse players were confident in their defensive ability based off previous matchups. “We didn’t give them really any scoring chances or opportunities,” senior goalie Jenesica Drinkwater said, “We worked really hard in the back to not let any shots get through, too.”Drinkwater was on top of her game in the opening game of her last playoff run with the Orange. Drinkwater’s versatility was on display nearly the entire night as she maintained a shutout for more than 56 minutes before letting the puck slip by with 3:33 left on the clock. Drinkwater said she controlled her rebounds well for all 60 minutes to eliminate any second-chance opportunities for Lindenwood. She is also the backbone to a defensive core of seven that Flanagan credited with taming the Lions’ offense. Flanagan praised the defensive efforts collectively from seniors Drinkwater, Brittney Krebs, Caitlin Roach and Goodnough. Sophomores Nicole Renault and Danielle Leslie, and freshman Larissa Martyniuk were also included on his list.“It was just a real solid job by the seven of them,” Flanagan said. “They really excelled in clearing the puck to eliminate second and third chances.”Syracuse players hope that collective effort builds momentum as it looks to put Lindenwood away on Saturday to eliminate the Lions from the CHA playoff tournament and advance to the semifinals in Erie, Pa. “This is huge for us, they’re back on their heels now,” Drinkwater said. “They’re down a game and have to come back and fight us. “I think we have the momentum now and we’ll carry it through to tomorrow.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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