Scoring consistency still an issue for Syracuse in home stretch of season
At times, Syracuse hasn’t been able to score. All season long, it hasn’t been able to score consistently.
When a team struggles to score, it has to change things, and that’s just what the Orange has tried to do.
“We just got to get ugly goals and take pride in that,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “I don’t know if some of these kids think it has to be tic-tac-toe because we’re playing a young team, but we can’t play that way, we’re just not that good.”
Its four-game winning streak aside, Syracuse (14-11-1, 8-3-1 College Hockey America) has lost multiple games due to its inconsistent offense. In its last eight games, the Orange has scored two or more goals four times, and one or no goals four times.
Last weekend against Penn State, SU scored just five times in two games. They scored 10 goals against the Nittany Lions in October. Earlier this month against Mercyhurst and Cornell, Syracuse was held to two goals in a three-game span.
The team has attributed part of its poor offensive performances to its inability to score on the power play throughout the season. The team is 17-for-119 on power play opportunities. Mercyhurst, which the Orange trails by three points in the CHA standings, is 35-for-133.
A three-game home stand against RIT and Rensselaer, in which SU outscored its opponents 10-1, was a step in the right direction for Syracuse.
“Our coach mentioned that we should start doubling our scores,” said forward Melissa Piacentini. “It was good to follow through with that.”
But since that stretch of games, SU scored more than three goals in consecutive games only once. In the 12 games since, Syracuse has scored two or fewer goals in consecutive games three times.
“I don’t know what you have to do to wake them up because it’s all upstairs,” Flanagan said. “We got to learn some lessons. And the one good thing I can say is that this team usually responds.”
After scoring only three goals in three games against Mercyhurst and Cornell one weekend, the Orange scored 10 goals combined in two games against Lindenwood the next.
SU’s decrease in scoring since the beginning of the season is partly due to the loss Laurie Kingsbury. Prior to suffering a concussion, she tallied five goals and four assists.
“If you look at our statistics, we don’t have any natural goal-scorers, we don’t have any real offensive threat.” Flanagan said. “The one goal-scorer we have isn’t with us anymore.”
Since Kingsbury went down, Flanagan moved defender Jacquie Greco to forward. Greco has scored eight goals, which ties her for third on the team.
“We have a dynamic group of forwards out there, I mean I’m a defenseman and I’m out there at forward, and it’s either we’re on or we’re off,” Greco said. “I think when we’re on, we’re really on and when we get one or more we just keep rolling.”
Greco cited the team’s 8-1 win against Lindenwood as an example. The Orange started off scoring four in the first period, including two from leading scorer Shiann Darkangelo. In the second period, the team scored three, then topped it off with one in the third.
On Saturday, multiple teams from the Northeast played at Tennity Ice Pavilion. Flanagan said he got to the rink at 7 a.m. to watch some of his recruits play.
Flanagan said earlier in the day, one of the recruits had a hat trick. The head coach said players like her and another recruit from Western Canada that leads her team in scoring should create positive competition next season.
Shortly after, Flanagan pointed over to Holly Carrie-Mattimoe, who is playing in her final season at SU.
“We’re going to miss the curly-headed one over here,” said Flanagan.
Carrie-Mattimoe has nine goals and 10 assists this season. The senior is also SU’s all-time leading scorer and a captain. Mattimoe said making smarter shots could help the team succeed in the future.
“I think we need to focus on finding the lanes to the net and not shooting into them,” Carrie-Mattimoe said.
Because this is her last year, Carrie-Mattimoe feels like she is under pressure to help her team succeed.
“Going out with a bang, having a good end to my career, I mean there is a little bit of pressure,” Carrie-Mattimoe said. “To go far in that tournament would be a huge thing.”
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