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Jada Burke scored for Lindenwood with just over three minutes left in the second period, and Syracuse began making some offensive errors. As the momentum seemingly started to lean in the Lady Lions’ favor, Tatum White drew a hooking penalty with 45 seconds left.
With the power play, the Orange retook full control of the shots in the period’s final seconds. And with less than 10 seconds left in the period, Arielle DeSmet set up Syracuse for one last shot by passing to Jessica DiGirolamo. Right as DiGirolamo crossed SU’s blue line, the defenseman sent a forward pass to Madison Primeau for a breakaway opportunity. Primeau calmly skated down the middle of the zone, barely lifted her right skate off the ice and buried a shot into the left side of the net. This gave Primeau her second goal of the game, her ninth of the season.
Primeau’s goal gave Syracuse (10-9-5, 8-3-0-1 College Hockey America) a 3-1 lead going into the third period. SU’s head coach Paul Flanagan said that goal was the game’s turning point as the offensive barrage was only just starting for the Orange. In the first 76 seconds after intermission, SU scored two more goals, which cemented a 6-1 victory over Lindenwood (5-18, 3-6 CHA).
In the Orange’s first two games against LU, they scored three goals in both games. In Friday’s victory, they scored three goals in less than 90 seconds. Even though Syracuse built a significant lead over the Lions, Flanagan said his team has been getting many positive chances and opportunities.
“We were moving the puck well,” Flanagan said. “It’s not necessarily (the) number of goals you score. It helps, but I think our grade A chances were real good bids.”
Syracuse started the first period with some of its best chances and shots of the season. The Orange outshot the Lady Lions 7-2 in the first 10 minutes of the game. But not even a minute into the game, DiGirolamo got the puck near center ice, deked out multiple Lindenwood defenders and fired a wrister at the net. Lindenwood goaltender Emily Finach made the stop, but she wouldn’t on DiGirolamo’s next wrist shot.
Minutes later on the power play, DiGirolamo fired another shot on net, that Finach initially blocked, but Primeau collected it and scored on the rebound to give the Orange an early lead. Primeau said that Syracuse wanted to improve even after back-to-back victories over RIT, and she felt the Orange did just that.
“Our transition was really good,” Primeau said. “We were making sure that we kept the pucks in their zone the whole time.”
SU added to its lead 13 minutes later by taking advantage of the front of the net. White, who made her first appearance since December, held the puck as she skated behind the right side of the net. Meanwhile, forward Victoria Klimek positioned herself in front of Finach and LU forward Chloe Corbin. White sent the puck to Klimek, who had a wide open look on net and lightly flung the puck into the net to make the score 2-0.
While Syracuse had some of its best shots of the season in the first period, the second was much more physical. Klimek said that the energy from the team and the puck control on the man advantage was solid and crucial. She also found the play of some of her teammates, including DiGirolamo, who, with her two assists, now had the most for an SU defenseman in a career.
“This whole year our power play, especially from Lauren (Bellefontaine) and (Jessica) DiGirolamo, has been really well,” Klimek said. “It was good in the first period and carried on through into the second and we kept possession in their zone.”
The Orange continued to do this as they immediately got another power play opportunity early in the third period. Bellefontaine and Abby Moloughney then helped set up Syracuse’s fourth goal of the night.
Bellefontaine won the face-off and quickly got the puck to Moloughney. As Bellefontaine controlled the puck, she instantly sent a pass across the zone to Sarah Marchand, who waited for it in the left circle. Marchand inched closer to the net with the puck and held on to it. But as defenders started to close in, the freshman fired a quick wrist shot that Finach could not stop.
Right after the goal, Bellefontaine once again won the draw and SU now immediately had another scoring chance. As the puck moved its away around the zone, Bellefontaine found Moloughney near the boards behind the net. Moloughney started to skate to the right side of the zone, and even though she was nearly parallel with the net, the senior forward sent a wrister to the net and it happened to be in the perfect position. Finach misread the location of the shot and the Orange had their fifth goal. Finach was then pulled, and six minutes later, Klimek added one more goal to finish the scoring barrage.
“We talked about momentum for a team,” Flanagan said. “But individually, they get confidence and chances and just tried not to press too hard.”
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