Syracuse heads to No. 4 Cornell with confidence in search of marquee win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 15, 2013 at 12:08 am Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ After squandering the chance to personally take the College Hockey America summit from No. 7 Mercyhurst last weekend, Syracuse gets little relief.The Orange travels to No. 4 Cornell (11-4, 8-2 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) Tuesday for a 7 p.m. puck-drop as the Big Red looks to rebound from a crushing 4-3 overtime loss to No. 3 Boston College.It’s a situation that a middle-of-the-road team like SU has no business winning. But the Orange (10-10-1, 4-3-1 College Hockey America) enters James Lynah Rink with a brief, heated history. Near upsets, a grudge and a collective swagger have proven to be the difference between blowout losses and close struggles, narrow losses and results.“I think we all get along great, we’re all there for each other,” junior defenseman Brittney Krebs said of the difference between this year’s team and last year’s. “We play for one another and I think that really helps a lot.”That cohesion has turned the scoreboard-laughers of last season into wire-to-wire battles for the Orange this year. And while SU has fallen in each of its meetings with ranked opponents in 2012-13, the margins have been slim, allowing the team to build a confidence that helps it punch above its weight.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU outshot New Hampshire and No. 10 Northeastern by double digits opening weekend and lost twice. That level of play with weekend-long consistency hasn’t been seen from the Orange since, head coach Paul Flanagan said.The Orange nearly took down then-No. 2 Clarkson on the road, and at Tennity Ice Pavilion, too. Both times, the Golden Knights escaped with the win, but playing one of the nation’s best that closely and that many times has the Orange believing in victory in Ithaca.“I know we didn’t win those Clarkson games but it definitely did boost our confidence,” Krebs said. “It shows that we can compete with those ranked teams so we just got to keep going.”The lopsided losses that dotted last year’s results are gone: 4-0, 5-0 to a Colgate team SU beat 6-0 a week ago and 9-2.The “9” was Cornell at Cornell Nov. 1, 2011.The then-No. 2 Big Red outshot the Orange 59-10. Senior captain Jacquie Greco gave credit to the talent of the powerhouse-boasting Canadian national teamers from the under-18 level to the senior team. But she can’t shake darker memories of the game.“It was so strange coming from an Ivy League, top-ranked school to have no class at all. They had no class and it was just really hard to deal with,” Greco said. “And you know, it kind of – it really hurt our team emotionally because we’re not used to that.”Late in the game, Cornell’s Jillian Saulnier hit SU forward Julie Knerr after the whistle. Though Greco did not specify when Knerr was injured, Greco said Knerr was concussed during the game, sending her to the hospital. She missed the following game, an exhibition against McGill, before returning Nov. 18 against Ohio State.“They don’t lighten up for us,” Flanagan said.A sense of fear also crippled the Orange during the loss at Cornell, Krebs said.“I think we had a young team, and it was – I mean last season was a struggle for us all year, but I think it was just we got scared,” Krebs said, “you know, didn’t play our game because they were ranked and they are such a well-known team.”Not so this year. Freshman Melissa Piacentini is the team’s third-leading scorer over 21 games. After finishing third on the team in scoring a year ago, sophomore Shiann Darkangelo has nearly equaled last year’s 18 points in 35 games with 15 in 20 – good for second on the team.The improvements guarantee nothing for Tuesday night, but SU is more confident and ready to get a better result than last year.“There’s that confidence factor that I think ours kid know that if the goaltenders are on, we can beat anybody,” Flanagan said. “They know now what they have to do.” Commentscenter_img Related Stories Darkangelo’s hat trick helps send Syracuse to 6-0 win over Colgatelast_img

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