Syracuse’s power-play problems persist in 4-2 win over Robert Morris

first_img Comments As Lindsay Eastwood collected the puck from her netminder, Eastwood glanced up to see Maggy Burbidge exiting the penalty box, returning the Colonials to five skaters on the ice. With 16 minutes remaining in the contest, and the Orange holding onto a 2-1 lead, SU had just failed to capitalize on their fourth power play of the night.In their final regular-season game, Syracuse (13-19-2, 11-7-2 College Hockey America) went 1-6 on their power-play opportunities en route to a 4-2 win over Robert Morris (19-11-4, 13-5-2). Capitalizing on more power-play advantages could have turned Saturday’s comeback victory into a comfortable senior day win. The margin for error won’t be as large come the CHA playoffs next week.“That’s an area we talked about,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “We’ve got to be better in terms of moving the puck quick and getting to openings…and be a bit more patient.”Syracuse started the night 0-4 on their power plays, but the chances were there. Thirty seconds into their first advantage, Jessica DiGirolamo corralled the puck at the blue line before slap-passing it to Lauren Bellefontaine. Bellefontaine took a quick look towards goal before firing the puck across ice to teammate Anna Leschyshyn. Leschyshyn wound up for a one timer, but her shot sailed wide of the post. The Orange had plenty of shots and scoring chances but were unable to put the puck past Robert Morris goalie Raygan Kirk.“It’s interesting because I thought our first power play we looked really good,” Flanagan said. “In the first period we had some really good quality chances.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe only time Syracuse was able to make the most of their man-advantage came with eight minutes remaining in the game. Eastwood and Colonial forward Emily Curlett both received penalties in quick succession. As the four-on-four segment came to an end, Eastwood exited the penalty box, immediately collected the puck in the neutral zone and took it to the right side of the ice before feeding the pass to teammate Abby Moloughney. Moloughney buried the puck for her second goal of the game and gave SU their first power-play success of the night.That Syracuse power play lasted all of nine seconds and resembled a fast break more than a strong possession. It was hard to judge if Moloughney’s goal was the result of the power play, Flanagan said.While Syracuse has plenty of opportunities, their adaptation to a team’s penalty kill needs to improve. Robert Morris was highly effective at shutting down the SU attack with their active sticks in the passing lanes and aggressive back checking. Syracuse had trouble throughout the night connecting more than three passes in succession before a Colonial stick interrupted the progress or iced the puck.“We really did a good job of keeping possession of the puck, which is a good start,” forward Emma Polaski said. “But the next step is definitely executing and getting that final pass and shots through to the net.”Utilization of special teams is not a new problem for the Orange. Throughout their season, SU has only scored 18 goals off of 137 power plays — a 13.1% success rate. Meanwhile Robert Morris was able to score 38 power-play goals on 151 chances during their campaign, (25%). The Colonials have the second-most efficient power-play unit in the nation, behind only Franklin Pierce.The power-play gap between the Orange and teams like Robert Morris will become crucial in next week’s CHA tournament. If the Orange find themselves squandering five power-play chances a game, as they did Friday night, a playoff run will be difficult.“Especially in playoffs,” Eastwood said. “Playoff hockey’s a different beast so when you get those opportunities you have to capitalize and we got to put a puck in.” Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 29, 2020 at 8:20 pm Contact Will: wrhentsc@syr.edulast_img