IHOC : Inability to score goals has led to Syracuse’s struggles in CHA play

first_imgWhen Isabel Menard left Syracuse after last season, she left a gaping hole in the top line of the Orange’s attack.And head coach Paul Flanagan has naturally relied on his experienced upperclassmen to fill the void, a daunting task given the team’s abundance of freshman players.‘We were in a hole right away. It’s like your losing players to free agency,’ Flanagan said. ‘There were a couple of younger players that we felt could have done more, and even the upperclassmen could have played better. So I think the disappointment is in that some of the kids didn’t pick up the slack.’The Orange’s lack of offensive production this season limited its success against conference opponents. And it has showed as Syracuse (9-20-3, 0-7-3 College Hockey America) sits in the cellar of the CHA standings. SU’s inability to capitalize on goal-scoring chances placed an enormous amount of pressure on the defensive unit, which struggled to go blow-for-blow with more talented opponents. If the Orange has any hope of advancing in the conference tournament, it will need timely offensive contributions from players who have underperformed.Menard’s absence from the SU lineup played a pivotal role as Flanagan tried to rally his troops before the start of this season. As a sophomore, Menard was an offensive force, accounting for more than 20 percent of the Orange offense and leading the team in goals, assists and points.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJunior forward Holly Carrie-Mattimoe said the team lost some flow in chemistry because of Menard’s decision to leave the program. That lack of rhythm carried over to the ice, where Syracuse struggled to put points on the board all season long.‘We were a little apprehensive because we had some unknowns coming into the year,’ Flanagan said. ‘The unknown was finding someone to fill that gap on offense.’With Menard gone, Syracuse leaned heavily on Carrie-Mattimoe and sophomore Margot Scharfe. The lack of threats around them led to inconsistencies for the offense as SU looked upon its best weapons to help carry the team.Instead of spreading the offense and generating better opportunities by moving the puck around, the offense stalled.Besides providing Syracuse with a talented goal scorer, Menard also created chances for other players on the team.This season, though, SU has whiffed when it comes to capitalizing on crucial goal-scoring chances. The Orange took numerous opponents down to the wire, but it couldn’t step up during crunch time.SU struggled to a 1-2-3 record in overtime games.‘We’ve struggled so much this season with capitalizing on an open net,’ Megan Skelly said. ‘If you take away all those ties, if you can capitalize those (ties) into wins, it makes a huge difference in points, and that’s been very frustrating for us.’Back on Jan. 20, SU skated to a 3-3 tie with Niagara at Tennity Ice Pavilion. And although the Orange rallied in the third period to even the score, it missed a game-changing opportunity.With a two-on-one breakaway that would have ended the game, Syracuse didn’t close the deal and settled for a tie with the Purple Eagles.Flanagan said those missed chances coupled with a poor percentage on the power play attack hampered Syracuse’s offensive attack and led to the frustrating season.When the Orange travels to face Niagara this weekend with CHA tournament seeding on the line, it will need to start taking more shots on net to put itself in a better position late in games.‘This time of year, you need to find a way to win games. But we seem to find ways to lose those tight games,’ Flanagan said. ‘We have to start making things happen.’awmirmin@syr.edu  Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 20, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Commentslast_img read more

Purple & Bold: Rajon Rondo provides steadying force

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the Monday, March 9 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Doc Rivers started by crediting the obvious for the Lakers’ 112-103 triumph: Their defense, their spirit, Anthony Davis’ 30 points, LeBron James’ 28 – and former Clipper Avery Bradley’s cold serving of 24.But what was really sticking with Rivers postgame were a couple of not-so-obvious factors.No. 1. The moment Bradley pick-pocketed Patrick Beverley near midcourt and sprinted the other way for a layup that trimmed the Clippers’ first-quarter lead to 10-9: “That was maybe the biggest play of the game,” Rivers said. “That rip on Pat was a big momentum shift for them; I thought it gave them confidence. That’s what Avery can do.” Said Rondo: “We were able to get stops, we made consecutive stops in a row, and (to) play without fouling in the third quarter. And share the ball and play for each other.”As for his role during that key stretch, Rondo made it sound simple.“Just playing basketball, finding the open man, trust my teammates to make the shots,” he said.Surely, there have been times this season when it hasn’t been so straightforward with Rondo on the court, and Vogel addressed that Sunday as he cast a clear vote of confidence in his veteran point guard.“I believe in Rondo,” Vogel said. “I always feel good about Rondo out there. Like anybody, he has his moments where it’s not there, and we have guys we can go to if we feel like we need to, but he was huge tonight.“He gets a game ball tonight. Any situation, I always trust Rondo to come through.”— Mirjam SwansonEditor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Lots to click fromScrumptious – Jim Alexander imagines Sunday’s performance “had to be delicious” for Avery Bradley.“M-V-P, M-V-P!” – The buzz was building Sunday after James helped drive another win over another of the NBA’s top teams for the second time in 48 hours.The Lakers get one – The rivalry is officially on, writes Kyle Goon.Lakers, NBA brace for coronavirus – They’re reminded to wash their hands, told to avoid unnecessary contact with strangers.Waiting for Waiters – The new Laker will build up conditioning before he hits the floor.Setting the table – Friday’s victory over the NBA’s top team was an appetizer for Sunday’s showdown with the Clippers.LeBron got the upper hand – Mark Whicker saw a particularly motivated James go to work against Giannis Antetekounmpo and the Bucks.“You can feel greatness” – Antetekounmpo tipped his hat to LeBron.Clincher – The Lakers’ 113-103 victory over Milwaukee secured their first playoff berth since 2013.“A player that can help us” – Vogel said Waiters will be able to contribute in a variety of ways. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersNo. 2. The game’s other hero, to hear the opposing coach tell it, was another former player of his – Rajon Rondo.“I thought he was phenomenal for them,” Rivers said of Rondo, with whom he won the 2008 NBA title in Boston, and against whom his Clippers struggled Sunday as Rondo helped steady the Lakers in big moments of a big game.In the 10 minutes Rondo was on the court while James was not, the Lakers outscored the Clippers by four points. That was a big deal, especially considering that this season the Lakers have a net rating of minus-0.9 when James is off the court.Rondo was a catalyst in the Lakers’ big third quarter, which they won 36-28 to build an 85-81 lead entering the final frame. In his seven minutes of work that period, the 34-year-old point guard accumulated five assists and went 2 for 3 from the field.“We had that stretch late in the third into the fourth (quarters) where ’Bron comes out of the game, and we’ve struggled in those situations, and (Rondo) led the charge,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He was controlling the action out there, talking out coverages on the defensive end and really leading to great shots every time down the floor, whether it’s pick-and-roll, drive-and-kick, whatever he was doing.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Ronaldo v Messi battle takes a new twist as fans argue over who is the best

first_img Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi 1 Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to a 4-0 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Dontesk, grabbing a second-half hat-trick.His treble against the Ukranians took him to 80 goals in total in the competition, three ahead of rival Lionel Messi, who he had previously been on level terms with.Barcelona’s Argentine superstar gets his crack at getting back on level terms with Ronaldo on Wednesday night as they take on Roma, but it might be tougher against the Italians.And after Ronaldo’s scoring feat on Tuesday night, fans gave their opinions on the duo, adding to a debate, which looks like never ending.You can see some of the reaction below…last_img