Jessica Sibley leads Syracuse to 2-0 over RIT, first-round bye in CHA tournament
Leigh Ann Rodgers | Staff Photographer
Minutes after being honored in a pregame ceremony with forwards Laurence Porlier, Heather Schwarz, Morgan Blank and defenseman Larissa Martyniuk for Senior Day, forward Jessica Sibley got back to work. As soon as the puck dropped, she joined the forecheck and began to attack and swarm the net just as she had been doing for the past four years.
She opened up the scoring by deflecting a backhander from Schwarz past Rochester Institute of Technology goalie Terra Lanteigne just over seven minutes into the game. Sibley hadn’t scored from opening night until last Saturday, but she got on the board for the third straight game.
The goal would eventually turn out to be the game-winner as Syracuse (13-12-5, 12-4-2 College Hockey America) shutout RIT (6-24-2, 4-12-2) 2-0 . Most importantly for the Orange, it secured a first round bye in the upcoming CHA tournament in Buffalo.
“You can eliminate the potential of playing three games in three days,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said regarding the bye. “The fact that we’ve been stressing it takes 120 minutes to win a championship, I’d have been thrown all out of whack.”
The Orange dominated the game from the start outshooting RIT 12-1 in the first. Flanagan said that if not for the outstanding play in net from Lanteigne, who finished with 32 saves, the score could have been lopsided after the first.
Miller, who only faced eight shots the entire game, credited the team’s penalty kill (6-for-6) and its ability to block off open lanes and clear with relative ease due to the aggressive forecheck, allowing her to have, by her standards, one of the easiest days in net this season.
“They’re blocking so many shots and not giving (RIT) any real good scoring opportunities,” Miller said. “(RIT) couldn’t get anything going…in the first period they only had one shot and two power-plays.”
Martyniuk hit a post on a blast from the point and Sibley had a potential second goal taken away by the knob of Lanteigne’s stick. Junior forward and leading scorer Stephanie Grossi turned a 2-on-1 into a partial breakaway but was robbed by the glove of Lanteigne on a rising wrist shot.
However, late in the third period Grossi scored from her knees as she flew forward through the air, eventually putting a loose puck from between the circle’s five-hole as she came crashing down in the crease.
With some wiggle room, Syracuse continued to dominate the possession game and closed out the win.
Even with all the missed chances on offense, or the occasional “selfish” penalty, Flanagan was impressed by his team’s ability to outshoot (34-8) and outwork an opponent on a home and home back-to-back.
“We really went after them (both games) and sustained (pressure),” Flanagan said. “Maybe we had any lull in our game, we got it back quickly.”
Published on February 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm
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