Syracuse started the season with 7 defenders, now it has only 4

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 30, 2019 at 11:11 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder center_img On Jan. 29, down to four active defenseman against No. 6 Cornell, Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan asked Logan Hicks to play the position she gave up two years prior. Originally a defender, Hicks focused on her new role as junior right winger this season. She had to switch because the Orange didn’t have enough defenders to fill its usual three lines.Hicks kept things simple. She cleared pucks quickly, angled skaters away from the net and didn’t take risks. The defense held Cornell— the ninth-best offense in the country (3.24 goals per game) — to two scores in the first two periods. But in the final 20 minutes, everyone was “gassed,” Flanagan said, leading to mental mistakes and three unanswered Big Red goals.Syracuse (6-18-2, 6-5-1 College Hockey America) has been hobbled by injuries this season, losing three defenders to injury. Dakota Derrer sustained a lower body injury on Nov. 10 against Penn State, ending her career, Flanagan said. Lindsay Eastwood has no timetable for return with an illness and Kristen Siermachesky was hit into the boards from behind against Penn State on Jan. 26, leaving the Orange with four healthy defenders for most of that contest. Flanagan adjusted without major changes to his system, rotating Hicks to the back against Cornell, and that’s likely to continue until Eastwood or Siermachesky comes back.“I thought our kids did a good job, and we only had four defensemen, so we asked a lot of those four,” Flanagan said following the Penn State matchup.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnna Henderson | Digital Design EditorFlanagan kept his defense fresh by rotating the five players in the last two matchups. Syracuse averages 5.1 penalties a game, but committed only one against Penn State and three against Cornell. The emergence of junior Allie Olnowich and more consistency from freshman Shelby Calof have helped the Orange secure their defensive depth.Olnowich started as the seventh defender this season, but against Cornell, she started alongside senior captain Allie Munroe.Now, Olnowich’s ability, that Flanagan said she’s always had, is standing out. She’s an “intuitive” player when it comes to decision making. Olnowich is also the most disciplined player on the ice for the Orange, Flanagan said. The lack of discipline has lost them games this season. Olnowich has committed just two penalties, the fewest out of players with consistent ice time.Syracuse’s forwards have helped with SU’s recent success, too. Their responsibility on the defensive side of the ice grew with the injuries, and two-way players like Lauren Bellefontaine became essential. The freshman, who is third on the team in blocks, got in front of a career-high four shots against Penn State when Siermachesky went down, and she replicated her block total three days later against the Big Red.“It’s really helpful having the forwards get back and having them talk to you and being an outlet to get open makes it a lot easier,” Hicks said.Syracuse got the day off after facing Cornell to recover from three games in five days. Now, it won’t play again until Feb. 8. Even if Eastwood isn’t fit to return by that point, it gives Hicks time to acclimate to her old position.With just one day of practice before playing against Cornell, Flanagan didn’t have much advice for Hicks. He had no other options.last_img