Eastwood is a not-so-hidden weapon for Syracuse on offense
Phil Bryant | Staff Photographer
In an exhibition game against the University of Ottawa on Sept. 24, the puck found its way to Syracuse defender Lindsay Eastwood at the blueline. Eastwood drew back her stick and fired toward the net. Though the puck went wide, a thunderous thud echoed throughout Tennity Ice Pavilion.
As Syracuse’s offense struggles, scoring just one goal per game this year, versus 2.5 goals per game last season, contributions from Eastwood become more vital. The Orange (1-4-1) needs to improve its offensive output. Eastwood’s slap shot is just one instrument in a substantial offensive toolbox that helped her finish eighth in points last season among CHA rookies. Towering over her competition at 6-foot-1, Eastwood understands the main source of the power behind her shot.
“I’m bigger than a lot of the other girls,” Eastwood said, “so I can put a lot of weight behind it.”
SU head coach Paul Flanagan recognizes that Eastwood complements the natural size advantage with her technique.
“She gets really low,” Flanagan said. “Kind of like a homerun hitter gets low and uses his lower body, she uses her legs and her midsection really well to step into it.”
Eastwood works on this part of her game as often as she can in practice, working on one-timers in various skills sessions.
Hard slap shots are not the extent of Eastwood’s offensive repertoire. Though all defenders must have stick skills to clear pucks, Eastwood possesses soft hands that few expect at first glance.
For most players of Eastwood’s stature playing defense, their job is to have the long reach to prevent opponents from gaining possession. However, Eastwood’s stick work, in combination with her size, allows her the ability to contribute more than the average defender.
“She’s just really smooth,” senior defender Megan Quinn said. “She’s mesmerizing. Her stick is so long and you don’t expect (such good hands) from someone her size.”
Flanagan also noted that it’s unusual to see someone of Eastwood’s size with such good hands. With 28 games left on the regular season slate, Flanagan knows how important it will be to keep Eastwood involved.
“I would anticipate as the year goes on that Lindsay’s going to get better and better in terms of her offensive flare,” Flanagan said. “She’s really good down low and as we get into it I expect more and more from her.”
Published on October 15, 2017 at 10:52 pm
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