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Sophomore forward Brynn Koocher skated to the penalty box after an interference call late in the third period. Just seconds later, Victoria Klimek received a two-minute minor for tripping, giving Colgate a five-on-three power play for nearly two minutes. Colgate forward Malia Schneider sent a screamer down the middle of the ice from her post near the blue line and behind the Orange goalie, tying the game at two.
The Orange (0-1) scored twice in the first period but ran out of momentum later in the game, falling 3-2 in overtime to Colgate (1-0). The Raiders, who returned five of their six starters from last season, stayed consistent throughout the game and capitalized on mistakes from a less-experienced Syracuse team.
“You can say their legs were heavy and their lungs were heaving or whatever, but a lot of that is mental. We have to learn to fight through that,” Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said.
Colgate’s first dominating possession of the night came midway through the first period. After competing with a fast SU squad, the Raiders started their fast-moving, circular offense that confused the Orange defense and started to break them down.
A strong start from Rayla Clemons and Sarah Thompson forced Flanagan to keep the aggressive freshmen in the game, but as they got tired, the Raiders uncovered holes in SU’s defensive game that could be exploited. Shortly after Colgate’s first goal in the third period, the Orange allowed a Colgate forward to cross the ice with no defenders in front of her. SU goaltender, Allison Small, made the save, but the small cracks exposed early in the game had been broken wide open.
The Orange stopped getting the puck out of the zone to get good scoring chances, Flanagan said after the game. The game’s momentum shifted when Syracuse became lazy, executing poor passes, creating costly turnovers and committing sloppy penalties.
With only four skaters on the ice for each team near the end of the second period, Syracuse had one possession before Colgate went to a power play. Instead of setting up a successful play, a shot by an Orange forward flew behind the net as Colgate’s penalty ran out.
Penalties ultimately led to scoring opportunities for Colgate in the third period and overtime, but two key power plays in the second period allowed a deep Raider roster to make in-game adjustments against Syracuse. Colgate started playing faster and with more confidence, and their depth and experience shined as Syracuse’s energy waned.
Flanagan said many of the young skaters were not recognizing the correct times to get off of the ice, a mental mistake he attributes to a lack of real game competition due to the coronavirus shutdown and a delayed start to the season. But he expressed optimism about the potential of his young players.
“They’ve shown us in the last month in practice what they’re capable of doing,” Flanagan said. “They all did a good job, good skills, they think in the game. They played as well as any group tonight.”
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