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Paige Greco slapped the puck from the offside line in the 12th minute of the third period in attempt to get Union in the scoring column, but Syracuse goaltender Arielle DeSmet stopped the shot. Maddie Suitor was there for the rebound and shot again. Still DeSmet made another save. Even off of her own rebound for Union’s third try, Suitor couldn’t convert.
That play would be the toughest sequence of the night, as DeSmet finished with a shutout and recorded 21 saves which limited the Union offense throughout the game. Syracuse (1-2-2) won the game against Union (2-3-0, 0-2-0 Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey League) — SU’s first win of the season — in lieu of a strong defense performance.
In the first period, the Orange started out on the attack, and totaled 11 shots in the first six minutes all while holding Union to just two shots. Forward Lauren Bellefontaine, who was playing in her 100th game, blocked Union’s Maya Jones’ first shot, which flew over the glass and into the safety net.
After high pressure against the Bulldogs to start, momentum shifted at the 10th minute beginning with a shot from Allison Smith on Union. The Bulldogs then had five straight shots after that, but Syracuse kept them from reaching the back of the net with three saves from DeSmet and a block from Jessica DiGirolamo.
On the Union final shot of that stretch, Syracuse defender Mae Batherson and Union forward Cassidy Michalicka were tangled on the ground after fighting for the puck. With an aggressive Syracuse defense and Union desperate for a goal, this style of play continued throughout the game.
“As the game progressed, Union was a little frustrated so more penalties were coming,” Bellafontaine said.
In the final seconds of the first period, Sarah Marchand tracked down a Union player and hooked her before she could get a shot off, but was called for the penalty with three seconds left, forcing a faceoff.
Syracuse was caught lackadaisical in the three seconds that remained, as Union swiped the ball before time could run out and scored a goal to put the Bulldogs up 1-0. However, Syracuse caught a break and the goal was overruled as it was shot when time expired for the first period, so the score was reset 0-0.
Starting the second period at a disadvantage due to the power play, the game looked like it would turn in Union’s favor when Maren Friday decked Syracuse defender Shelby Calof to ground. Union took advantage with numbers up, and put itself in a two-against-one transition play against DeSmet. Ashley Adams looked as if she was going to pass the puck, but she shot the ball herself. DeSmet wasn’t fooled, and she shifted her hand to the right for the save.
“Arielle played really well,” Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said. “But I don’t think she had to make any sustained save after save after save.”
Once Syracuse regained its composure after earning the penalty kill, it went on the attack and notched two shots. On the second one, a diving shot from Hannah Johnson was blocked by the Union goaltender. But Madison Primeau controlled the puck off the rebound and hit a straight right into the net to put Syracuse up 1-0.
Union was held quiet in the second period and only had 11 shots in the period, and DeSmet and the defense were there to prevent them from going in. On Syracuse’s second goal of the night, DeSmet saved a Union shot attempt and the Syracuse defense gained possession of a rebound. The puck was dished to Kambel Beacom who picked her head up and two Syracuse players alone on an island. She passed it to Brynn Koocher, who scored the second goal of the night, giving Syracuse a comfortable 2-0 lead.
To end the period, the Syracuse defense held strong on a Union power play. Almost anytime a Union player touched the puck, they were met with a Syracuse defender who was putting instant pressure on them to get rid of the ball. The defense prevailed and Syracuse earned its second penalty kill of the night to end the second period.
The third and final period was all Syracuse, as it started off with a Union penalty giving Syracuse the advantage. The Orange took four shots and won two faceoffs throughout the power play. In the third minute, Union forward Kaitly Ehmann was swarmed by three Syracuse defenders and lost the puck. Three minutes later, Grace Heiting was chased down by Tatum White to prevent a shot from happening.
By end the night, Marielle McHale and White had joined in on the scoring party, and they each added a goal to seal the game away at 5-0, all while DeSmet and the Syracuse defense held off any final effort from Union to score a goal.
“Usually we do not win (at home) very often,” Bellafontaine said. “This jump started our season.”
The post Arielle DeSmet, defense hold Union scoreless in 5-0 win appeared first on The Daily Orange.