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Fast reactions from Syracuse’s 1st-ever CHA Tournament championship

first_img Published on March 8, 2019 at 6:40 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder Facebook Twitter Google+ BUFFALO — Kristen Siermachesky rounded the net and pointed to the Syracuse area of the stands with a wide smile on her face. After her teammates mobbed her in the corner, Siermachesky was the first to slip out and head toward more high-fives on the bench. She had just scored to give Syracuse a 2-1 lead. A lead it would never relinquish. For the first time in program history, Syracuse (13-21-3, 10-8-2 College Hockey America) clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and earned its first CHA title against Robert Morris (16-14-6, 13-4-3). The teams remained even after one period, but the Orange pulled away in the second period at the HarborCenter, cruising to a 6-2 victory on Friday. Here are three takeaways from the historic victory. Jaycee Gebhard locked downThroughout the game, whenever CHA’s leading scorer Jaycee Gebhard was on the ice at even strength, she was matched against Syracuse’s line of Lauren Bellefontaine, Emma Polaski and Abby Moloughney. The first shift of the game, the RMU forward spent extended time in the offensive zone and on the forecheck. As the game progressed, the lines drew even. Then, with the SU underclassmen line on the ice without Gebhard, Allie Olnowich fired a wrister from the blue line to put the Orange up 1-0.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGebhard had an empty net to shoot at on the power play in the first period but bobbled the puck. She eventually scored in the third period, but RMU was trailing 5-1 at that point. As the Orange’s lead grew, Gebhard grew more and more frustrated. Nearly every time Gebhard touched the puck in the offensive zone, especially in the first two periods, she was hounded by SU players and pinned to the boards. Syracuse’s young line didn’t generate a lot of offense, but they repaid head coach Paul Flanagan’s trust with a shutdown performance.At the right timeBefore Syracuse boarded the bus for Buffalo on Tuesday, Allie Munroe said the Orange were “peaking at the right time.” That held true throughout three games at the Harborcenter. Syracuse came into the tournament having beaten every team in the CHA except RIT, but had only taken one out of four games against Robert Morris. It didn’t matter. At the back, goalie Ady Cohen has trended upwards since the start of February. Before, she was 1-4 with a 3.20 goals against average. In the last month, she’s 3-3-1, but her GAA is down to 2.70. Cohen started against Mercyhurst and made big stops to earn Syracuse’s first win against the Lakers in tournament history. On Friday, she continued her strong play, making numerous key stops including going into the splits to stop a point shot near the end of the second period.Second period team The Orange scored four unanswered goals in the middle period to take control of the contest. It started with Siermachesky. She was moved to forward after coming back from an upper-body injury, and she converted a rebound chance to give Syracuse a 2-1 lead. Just under three minutes later, Jessica DiGirolamo fed Brooke Avery, who slid it five-hole. Savannah Rennie and Lauren Bellefontaine added two more goals later in the period to go into the intermission up 5-1. Robert Morris never recovered, and by the time Gebhard scored her consolation marker, it was just that.In the three CHA tournament games this week, Syracuse scored 10 goals in the second period while allowing just one. Against Lindenwood, SU was down 1-0 after the first period, but four straight second period goals tilted the matchup in its favor. The middle frames of each contest proved vital in the Orange earning their first CHA crown in program history. center_img Commentslast_img read more