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COLUMBUS, OHIO — In Syracuse’s first-ever NCAA Tournament game in 2019, it lost 4-0 to top ranked Wisconsin the eventual national champion then-No. 1 Wisconsin. Three years later, in the 2022 Tournament’s Regional Semifinals, the Orange were once again shutout in a 4-0 loss to Quinnipiac.
The two teams both had quality chances in the first period, but the game remained scoreless. In the second period, the Bobcats scored two quick goals in less than five minutes, giving them the advantage heading into the final 20 minutes, where Jess Schryver and Lexie Adzija added to that lead to send the Bobcats to the quarterfinals.
Here are observations from SU’s (15-11-6, 11-4-1 College Hockey America) NCAA Tournament loss against Quinnipiac (26-9-3, 15-7 Eastern College Athletic Conference):
Allowing goals in bunches
SU’s defense remained stout throughout the first 28 minutes of play. While Quinnipiac was using its speed and physical advantages to create better chances, Arielle DeSmet continued to make saves, finishing with seven in the first period. But in the second period, the Bobcats’ second and third lines were able to score multiple goals quickly.
Eight minutes into the second period, Quinnipiac’s second line entered Syracuse’s zone to start an attack. Left winger Ann-Frederik Naud took two quick wrist shots that were blocked by DeSmet. Jessica DiGirolamo attempted to clear the puck, but it was deflected and fell onto Taylor House’s, who easily scored on the open net past a diving DeSmet to put the Bobcats up 1-0.
Less than five minutes later, the Bobcats continued to put the offensive pressure on Syracuse. After a missed shot by Sarah Marchand, Quinnipiac’s Courtney Vorster sped past multiple SU defenders with the puck. Vorster was able to pass it off in the zone to Sadie Peart who stood right in front of DeSmet. Peart made a spin move with the puck to get the SU goaltender to fall down, scoring easily to give Quinnipiac a 2-0 lead.
This season, Syracuse had the most power-play goals out of any team in the CHA. But against the Bobcats, the Orange struggled to convert on the man advantage. Midway through the first period, Peart was called for hooking, putting SU on an early power play. Twenty seconds into it, Abby Moloughney had a wide-open chance at the right side of the net but couldn’t handle the puck and her shot went wide.
In the second period, the Orange had just killed the Bobcats’ first power play as they went on their second. During the man-advantage, SU had three of its shots blocked. DiGirolamo had the best chance of the power play, where she had a close-range chance from the left side. DiGirolamo took a hard shot, but Corinne Schroeder deflected the puck with her glove to stop it. In the last period of the Orange’s season, they got one more opportunity. DiGirolamo had another chance to score, this time from the top of the zone, but her shot was deflected. The puck spent a good portion of the power play in SU’s zone as the Bobcats created breakaway chances while shorthanded.
Breakaways fall apart
Similar to what she’s done all season, Rayla Clemons used her speed to cause a breakaway down the right side. But Clemons wasn’t able to fully gain possession of the puck and an opportunity was missed. Later in the first period, Clemons and Sarah Thompson had two-on-one negated due to an offside call.
Less than a minute into the second period, Victoria Klimek received a long pass down the left side of the ice to create another breakaway opportunity. Klimek sent a hard shot toward Schroeder, who stopped it with her chest. The beginning of the final period saw another chance for Klimek as she immediately broke away before Schroeder made the stop.
As the Orange trailed midway through the game, Quinnipiac’s Olivia Konigson looked to clear the puck in the neutral zone, but as she cleared the puck, it deflected off of Vorster and back into the Bobcats’ zone. Marchand was nearby and now had an opening, setting herself up for a hard wrist shot, zooming toward the right side of the net. But Schroeder tipped it with her glove and stick. Marchand was unable to score on any rebound chance and the Bobcats immediately scored their second goal of the day.
Faceoffs deteriorate throughout the game
Lauren Bellefontaine was one of the CHA’s best faceoff takers throughout the season, winning 399 in her senior year. In the first 15 seconds of the game, she beat Adzija on the draw twice to give the Orange early possessions. Bellefontaine won SU’s first five faceoffs of the period, while Madison Primeau added two more to help keep the score tied.
The second period saw much more of a lopsided result, however, as Quinnipiac finished with seven more faceoff wins than Syracuse. It helped the Bobcats retain possession and control in a period that saw them take the lead. In the third period, the faceoff successes turned into goals for Quinnipiac. Adzija beat Bellefontaine with a quick move of her stick which sent the puck back to Zoe Boyd. Boyd sent a long wrist down toward the net that Schryver tipped in to cement Quinnipiac’s win over SU.
The post Observations from SU vs. Quinnipiac: Power-play struggles lead to NCAA Tournament loss appeared first on The Daily Orange.