Syracuse ice hockey’s Emily Costales’ strength allows her to become a scoring option
Kali Bowden | Staff Photographer
As soon as a Rochester Institute of Technology defender skated behind Syracuse’s net to retrieve the puck, Emily Costales knew what to do. Picking up speed as she skated along the boards, Costales lowered her shoulder and muscled the puck away from the defender before passing it to the blue line.
The crowd in the Tennity Ice Pavilion audibly gasped as the RIT defender laid on the ground. Some RIT fans yelled for a penalty to be called on Costales but the referee didn’t oblige.
Costales’ display of physicality was deemed legal, unlike similar situations earlier in the year, and the junior forward provided her team with an offensive opportunity.
Since committing four penalties in her first three games, Costales has refined her aggressive style of play and applied it to SU’s offense. She has taken only one penalty over SU’s last six games while tallying three points for Syracuse (5-7-4, 4-2-2 College Hockey America), which has gone 3-2-1 in that span.
Following SU’s slow start, Costales identified the need to be more of a scorer. Her eight points are good for fifth on the Orange. When SU struggled to score, Costales found a niche role in the offense.
“A lot of my goals last year were rebounds, being a presence in front of the net,” Costales said. “We are sort of lacking those dirty goals.”
Costales, along with others, began crashing the net in order to score off rebounds.
Costales’ first of two goals against Robert Morris on Nov. 4 came when a shot by Dakota Derrer careened off the wall and behind the RMU net. Costales corralled the puck and forced it in front of the net, where a correctly-timed shove of the goaltender allowed the puck to find its destination.
“She does the little things right,” redshirt junior forward Brook Avery said. “Girls hockey is technically not a contact sport, but we try to be aggressive and those players (Costales) … make the right play.”
SU head coach Paul Flanagan called Costales a “tank.” He described her as a player who uses her strength to impose her will on the game, though sometimes that can lead to unnecessary penalties.
Flanagan recalled times when Costales has skated along the boards with the puck and an opposing defender runs into her. Most of the time, the challenging defender finds herself on the ground. Often, Costales heads to the penalty box.
“They fall pretty easily. I’m more of a target,” Costales said. “I try not to fall a lot. When people come toward me, they tend to fall.”
But over the last month, Costales has consistently proven that her strength can be an effective tool in cracking through defenses.
Published on December 6, 2016 at 10:53 pm