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Peddling wares

first_imgStudents brought laptops and books to pass the time as they lined up at Founders Park more than 12 hours in advance for the chance to purchase inexpensive bicycles from the USC Department of Public Safety’s bike sale, where unclaimed, impounded bikes were sold.Dieuwertje Kast | Daily Trojanlast_img

Ady Cohen’s success in the net is a byproduct of her mother’s support

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Ady Cohen stood in net, watching the seconds tick as Syracuse was on its way to defeating Robert Morris to capture its first ever College Hockey America title. Cohen, whose playing time wavered throughout the season, was one of the Orange’s catalysts in the postseason.Behind Syracuse’s bench, Debra Cohen stood anxiously, with fellow SU parents on either side of her, supporting her through the final minutes. She’d adopted Cohen at 7 months old from Russia, and moved from Florida to Ohio to New York, just to make sure Cohen’s hockey career continued.That night against the Colonials, Debra couldn’t hold back tears — it’s what her daughter always wanted, to be a starting collegiate goalie.“It makes a lot of it all worthwhile,” Debra said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCohen knew she wanted to be a Division I net-minder going into her freshman year of high school, but there were few top programs in Florida. Debra left her job, left Cohen’s grandparents and left home for her daughter’s dream. Cohen started her career at SU as a walk-on, but last season, the 21-year-old finally got her chance and shone down the stretch, saving 54 of the 59 shots she faced in the CHA tournament.Now, as a senior, head coach Paul Flanagan called Cohen a “viable part of our program” heading into the 2019-20 season. It’s her job to lose, but whether or not Cohen starts, Debra will still be rooting for her daughter at every Syracuse home game.Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorAfter Debra adopted Cohen in 1999, the two lived alone together in Boca Raton, Florida, 20 minutes away from the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs. Having figure skated herself, Debra took her three-year-old to a “Learn-to-Skate” session, figuring it would be a fun alternative to something outdoors in the relentless heat of southern Florida.Cohen was a natural on skates and was enamored with the Panthers mascot and his hockey uniform, she said. While Stanley C. Panther was her first introduction to the sport, seeing other kids play hockey after her figure skating sessions made her want to try for herself.Cohen started in an NHL Learn to Play program at five. She initially gravitated towards forward but thought playing attack was boring because they didn’t wear enough gear.“I saw the equipment, I thought it was cool, and I became a goalie,” Cohen said.Debra bought Cohen the equipment she needed without hesitation. Cohen quickly exceeded her age group, partly because of skill and partly because there simply weren’t many kids playing youth hockey goalie in Florida, said Mike Necela, who coached her in the Learn to Play program.“She didn’t have any girls to look up to, so it ended up being her and the boys,” Necela said.By the time Cohen was 12, she was being used as target practice for boys and girls who were training for their upcoming juniors seasons, generally for players between 16 and 21, Necela said.That summer, Debra sent Cohen to the USA Hockey Mid-American District Development Camps to improve her skills. To gain traction, Cohen enrolled at Gilmour Academy (Ohio), over 1,000 miles from Boca Raton. Debra didn’t want Cohen to live alone at 13 years old, so she moved into an apartment less than a mile from the school.“I just like to be supportive of what she’s doing,” Debra said, “With the work I had, I was able to adjust my schedule to be there with her.”Ally Walsh | Staff PhotographerOn the weekends, they’d sometimes travel to New York City to see Broadway productions. “Wicked,” Cohen’s favorite musical, is quoted on the back of her helmet at Syracuse: “Defy Gravity.”Cohen’s prior experience against older competition as target practice prepared her enough to start her freshman year of high school, where she’d accumulate a .923 save percentage in four years. In one game her sophomore year, Cohen was getting ready for a penalty shootout. Debra, too anxious to watch, left the stadium and had a fellow parent text her the result.Still, despite her impressive play, scholarship offers were hard to come by. Debra graduated from Syracuse in 1996, but there wasn’t a women’s ice hockey program there at the time. Flanagan, the team’s 11-year head coach, had been talking to Cohen’s coach at Gilmour and was in the market for a third goalie. It was the perfect fit.Once Cohen graduated and made the move east for Syracuse, so did Debra. This time, though, she bought a condo in the Finger Lakes, letting Cohen live with her teammates on campus. The two still meet weekly, either for meals or after games. But the transition was difficult for a quiet person like Cohen. Redshirt senior Lindsay Eastwood said it took a couple of jokes for Cohen to share her personality during her freshman year, but she now has a knack for cracking everyone up.It was during Cohen’s sophomore year that she really began to gel with her teammates, Cohen said. The team would all go to the Sheraton for breakfast as part of their pregame ritual. For most of her career, though, Cohen would go into those meals knowing someone else would be facing the opponent’s shots later that day.“I didn’t really focus on ‘Oh I haven’t played the last two years’ or whatever,’” Cohen said, “The time is now, and if I’m in there I’m going to take full advantage.”Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorHer junior year could’ve been plagued by missing two months with a concussion and inconsistent playing time again, but Flanagan gave her a chance during conference play. She totaled a team-best 2.75 goals against average in 13 starts — including a shutout of Mercyhurst on Feb. 9.That game was the reason Cohen replaced Maddi Welch for Syracuse’s semifinal matchup against Mercyhurst, in which she made 28 saves. That was enough for Flanagan to go back to her in the final, where she saved 26 of 28 shots faced.Debra was characteristically anxious during the final game, even when SU led by multiple goals. Sometimes, she prefers it when Cohen’s on the bench; there’s much less stress then.But Cohen stood strong in net. Syracuse’s offense exploded for six goals to defeat Robert Morris 6-2 and capture SU’s first CHA championship.After the game, Cohen’s teammates flooded onto the ice to embrace Cohen, forming a pig pile in the process. Cohen’s journey — growing up with a single mother, moving place-to-place, and spending two years waiting on the sidelines — led to that moment underneath all her teammates.As Cohen emerged from the team’s celebration, went through the handshake line and posed for pictures with the CHA trophy, Debra cried. It was what she’d envisioned for her daughter all along.Said Debra: “It was one of those moments that’s a long time coming.” Comments Published on October 6, 2019 at 9:58 pm Contact Tim: tnolan@syr.edulast_img read more