In two games this weekend, Syracuse (2-2-0, 2-0-0 CHA) racked up more than 100 shots on goal against Penn State (1-3-0, 0-2-0 CHA). The Orange scored just shy of 10 percent of the time while the Nittany Lions were unable to find the back of the net once in the team’s first two home games as a Division I program.
Penn State lost to Syracuse 4-0 on Saturday and 6-0 on Sunday. Lions’ coach Josh Brandwene said his players are all competitors and it’s frustrating to come out on the losing end, but they need to see the positives and negatives from the losses.
“Our job is to make sure that we balance that frustration, acknowledge that frustration and still make sure that while it burns at you a little bit that we don’t get stuck in trees in the forest,” Brandwene said.
On Saturday, the Lions were able to keep pace with the Orange in the first period as both teams remained scoreless, but two goals in each of the next periods sunk Penn State.
Brandwene said he watched film into the wee hours of the morning to work on preparing for game two. He also said the team made adjustments to the forecheck, and added it was much better the second time around.
However, Syracuse center Margot Scharfe and left winger Laurie Kingsbury had two goals a piece in the game on Sunday to ultimately take down the Lions, 6-0.
Assistant captain Jenna Welch said there were similarities on the offensive side between the games played this weekend and the two matches last weekend when the team scored six goals against Vermont, but there are points to work on.
“Both teams are very aggressive and very fast paced,” Welch said. “But we didn’t have much time in space…we just got to work on getting our offense going.”
Welch said the Lions are going to focus on defensive play from here on out because Brandwene stresses that everything starts on defense.
Syracuse coach Paul Flanagan said his team was able to blank the Lions because of its net play and he preaches working from the net out. He also said he thought the Orange moved the puck well.
“We’re trying to work at refining our systems and refining things and that’s something I think we did a pretty good job of this weekend,” Flanagan said. “It’s a work in progress for us.”
Flanagan said the main things his team took away from this weekend were playing as a group and learning how to win after the Orange lost their first two games of the year to New Hampshire and Northeastern.
Both Flanagan and Brandwene acknowledged the Lions’ strong work ethic.
“That’s something all of our kids bought into and continue to be bought into,” Brandwene said. “We just need to make we’re combining that work ethic with a certain amount of patience and a certain amount of poise.”
Brandwene said he was happy with the rhythm from his team early in the second game and said the young squad learned how important it can be to stay patient late in games.
Flanagan said it was exciting to come to Penn State and that it is a neat environment to see what he went through four years ago when Syracuse created a women’s hockey team.
Now in his fifth year with the Orange, he had some advice for the Lions. He said the team has to relish the high points and a lot of it has to do with enthusiasm and learning the fundamentals.
“I think you have to be patient,” Flanagan said. “There’s going to be ups and downs. There’s going to be nights when it’s just not going to go your way. You just can’t get too low.”