Syracuse club ice hockey looks to carry over momentum from before Thanksgiving Break

first_imgIt’s been a roller coaster season for Syracuse.First, it was six wins in eight games. Then five losses in seven contests. But now, the Orange seems to have righted the ship.After four straight wins, and the adaptation of head coach Nick Pierandri’s hard-nosed defensive philosophy, the Orange has seen immediate results. Syracuse (12-7) took momentum into Thanksgiving Break and has a recent winning streak after midseason struggles.“I think we just all came together as a team and bought into the coach’s system,” senior goalie Austin Lefkowicz said. “It’s hard to get the chemistry going but now that we’re getting late in the season, we’re buying in. That leads to success in this league.”Lefkowicz, junior backup Jaime Ketchabaw and defenders in front of them were crucial to the team’s recent successes, holding Orange opponents to two goals or fewer in each of the last six wins.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDefensive dominance has been a constant for SU in a season marked by offensive questions. The Orange has only allowed four goals or more four times, two of which were against the high-powered offense of Stony Brook, and 45 goals total this season.While finding the net has not been as easy as protecting it — SU ranks only 26th out of 51 teams in goals scored — the Orange has learned to play with the confidence that its own shots will eventually fall as long as opponents are prevented from scoring.“It all starts with our goaltender,” junior forward JR LaPointe said. “When our goaltenders are playing solid, it filters throughout our team.”To be able to climb higher in the rankings and fight for one of six playoff spots in February, the Orange also needs to improve its play on the road, where it has gone 3-6 so far this season.Six of SU’s final 13 games are away from home, and the outcome of those games may make the difference between reaching the playoffs and watching them from home.“Honestly when we get on the road, it’s kind of tough for our team to get into the groove of things,” said senior forward Alex Rajaniemi. “You kind of got to get a flow to the game.”If the Orange does earn a playoff spot, its home success will put it at an advantage. SU will host all rounds of the 2015 ACHA tournament with the exception of the quarterfinals.Following the system has given the Orange good reason to hope its season will continue long into the postseason. But for Pierandri, that’s no surprise.“I’ve told them all along,” Pierandri said. “It’s preparation during the week, its excitement and … having passion for the game on the weekends.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 4, 2014 at 1:36 amlast_img read more