In a two-game weekend series against CHA leader, Mercyhurst, Syracuse had a chance to move into first place in the conference. Which, they ended up achieving... for one day. Both games were played at the War Memorial in Syracuse. In the first outing, Syracuse shut out the Lakers 2-0 to move into a tie with Mercyhurst at the top of the conference. However the next day, Mercyhurst responded with a 3-1 victory to regain sole possession of first place. They now lead Syracuse in the standings by two points.
The first game showed a lot of promise for the Orange, shutting out a Mercyhurst team that has been held scoreless only one other time this season. Syracuse goaltender, Jenn Gilligan, was solid in net recording 16 saves and her second consecutive clean sheet.
However momentum shifted the next day. Although Syracuse outshot Mercyhurst by a whopping 40-14, the Orange lost by two goals. Scoring only one goal on 40 shots is not something you like to see on the stat sheet. I did the math, it's a 2.5% success rate. Statistically speaking, it would've taken the Orange 120 shots just to tie the game up. But what really killed the Orange was penalties.
Not only could Syracuse not score on the five powerplay chances they had, but they also gave up two man-down goals in the first period., digging themselves into a 2-0 hole early.
This series is another perfect example of the roller coaster style of play that head coach, Paul Flanagan, refers to: the Orange can go from being high up to being down low fast. Consistency is still an issue with this group. In this Mercyhurst series, SU went from shutting out their opponent to almost being shut out themselves if not for a late third period goal.
Syracuse will look to rebound against their next CHA opponent, RIT, in another weekend series. They have dominated the young Tigers team in both games they have played them earlier this season.
Here are some highlights from the first game in which the Orange won 2-0: