Ice Hockey

Syracuse mounts comeback to secure 2-2 tie against No. 4 Clarkson

Colin Davy | Staff Photographer

Syracuse has been on the wrong end of late-game lead changes most of this year, but it finally had a big comeback against a top team in the country.

Alysha Burriss barrelled toward Clarkson’s net, carrying her stick, and Syracuse’s fate, in her right hand. As she fought off a defender hot on her tail, she took a swing at the puck. She saw it get past CU goaltender Shea Tiley and triumphantly threw both hands in the air.

Burriss had just picked up a puck in the neutral zone and went from blue line to goal line and tied the game with only 1:59 remaining in regulation.

“I poked it past (the Clarkson defender) and just tried to beat her to the net,” Burriss said.

“She just willed herself to beat that defenseman,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said.

Just as it seemed Syracuse was dead in the water, Burriss put new life into the game.

Syracuse (5-7-5, 4-2-2 College Hockey America) tied No. 4 Clarkson (14-3-4, 9-0-1 Eastern College Athletic) 2-2 on Friday night at Tennity Ice Pavilion. Despite tying 2-2 for the second straight Friday, SU was able to do something it hadn’t done all season: mount a late-game comeback. And against one of the five best teams in the country.

Syracuse jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a Heather Schwarz backhanded try in the first, but Clarkson knotted things up before the frame was over. By the end of the second period, it was 2-1 Golden Knights, courtesy of Ella Shelton’s blast from the point.

As the third period wound down, the chances of an Orange comeback were looking slimmer by the minute. SU wasted two power plays in the final period.

“We have higher expectations of ourselves as a team because we know how we can play,” Schwarz said.

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Colin Davy | Staff Photographer

It appeared SU was going to be unable to produce in the third period again, like it had against Mercyhurst, Robert Morris and twice to Colgate.

Especially fresh in the minds of Syracuse was the 2-2 tie to Rochester Institute of Technology a week before. The Orange held a two goal lead before RIT freshman Kendall Cornine and the Tigers battled back to draw even and send the game to overtime.

Flanagan was extremely disappointed following that tie and afterward called it “an awful hockey game,” and “brutal.”

“We know that when we don’t have our heads in the game,” Schwarz said, “when we know we’re not focused, it can result in last Friday (against RIT).”

But as poor as the Orange played last weekend, it looked every bit the part of a top team against Clarkson on Friday night. Heading into overtime, Flanagan was visibly fired up, talking to his team, trying to will them to an upset victory.

SU repeatedly won battles along the boards, got sticks in shooting lanes and on loose pucks in dangerous areas. It was able to hold the puck in the offensive zone for long stretches.

Flanagan said he thought his team experienced a lull in the second period, and the stats reflect that, as Clarkson was able to grab a lead. But in the third, the Orange came right back, fighting until the bitter end and eventually, the reward came in the form of Burriss’ breakaway.

After collapsing late time and time again, Syracuse finally played a full 60 minutes. Though the comeback was never completed, it proved that the Orange can be on the right side of last-minute changes to the game. And that maybe the next time, another goal will come.

“We’ve blown enough games late this year,” Flanagan said, “now we’ve come from behind, it’s our turn to win one here.”

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