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Syracuse offense blitzes Mercyhurst in 4-1 win

first_imgAlysha Burriss spun away with the puck, taking it down the rink herself by the boards. Her bench, on the opposite side of the ice, collectively rose in anticipation to see what she’d do next. They’d seen this before.Earlier in the game, during the first period, Burriss had a similar breakaway in which she found Brooke Avery for Syracuse’s second goal of the game. Then, she had an advantage with teammates on the SU breakout. This time, Burriss was outnumbered, but that didn’t matter. Encountering a Mercyhurst defender, she moved the puck to her right side and hooked it around the Laker before finishing the move with a five-hole goal between the goaltender’s legs. She reacted immediately, raising her arms in the air. For her teammates on the bench, it took some extra time to realize what they’d just seen.The senior Burriss led the way offensively for Syracuse (9-14-2, 8-4-1 College Hockey America) in its 4-1 victory over Mercyhurst (12-13-2, 9-3-1) at Tennity Ice Pavilion on Friday. Her two points were her first since scoring a goal against Cornell four games ago and paced an Orange offense that scored as many goals Mercyhurst had given up in its last five games combined. Syracuse jumped out to a fast start against the conference-leading Lakers and never looked back, leading for the final 50 minutes of the game. While Burriss’ goal wasn’t SU’s first of the contest, it was the most meaningful for a team that’s struggled to hold onto leads.“Burriss’ goal, that was the game,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “If she doesn’t score that goal, it’s a different story. It was one of the nicest I’ve seen in a while.”A shot off the stick of the Napanee, Ontario, native 10 seconds into the game served as Syracuse’s first shot on goal of the contest. Its second didn’t come for another nine minutes, but it was well worth the wait. Savannah Rennie tallied a highlight goal of her own, catching a pass from Allie Munroe at the blue line before laying it down and scoring high-glove side to put the Orange on the board.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter struggling to find consistency in conference play to begin its CHA slate, Syracuse came into Saturday’s contest off a four-point weekend at Penn State that saw it win back-to-back overtime games. From the get-go, the Orange appeared to be the more confident team over the higher-ranked Lakers, and Rennie’s goal only added to its confidence.“It’s really important for our team to score the first goal,” Avery said. “We play a lot better when we’re up, and I feel like we’re more composed after that. No one likes to be down. It’s just how we play, it’s something we look to do.”Thanks to a strong defensive effort, SU was able to keep Mercyhurst’s offense at bay and turn its failed possessions into opportunities at the other end. Breakaways became a theme for the Orange, and although many chances were squandered, Burriss made sure that not all were wasted.First, it was the feed to Avery off an end-to-end push that she took herself off a Mercyhurst miss. Then, before her circus goal in the second period, it was a deflection off Abbey Miller’s pad that was shuffled up to Burriss before she handled the rest.“We’ve just been working on getting the puck out,” Burriss said. “Sometimes when the defense pinches down, if we just get the puck off the glass, it creates an odd-man rush or a breakaway.”After giving up two or less goals for the fourth straight game and scoring four or more goals for the first time in three weeks, it looks like Syracuse may finally be finding its groove in conference play. A key for the Orange to keep up the trend will be maintaining the newfound confidence it showed against Mercyhurst. With more performances like tonight, it may just continue.“Going off last weekend, getting two overtime wins really helped with our confidence, Miller said. “We’re playing with a lot of passion right now.” Comments Published on January 26, 2018 at 10:49 pm Contact Eric: [email protected] | @esblack34 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more