first_imgMidway through the second period, Megan Skelly saw a familiar but uncommon sight. Both Syracuse and Niagara had three players in the penalty box.Of course this sight was only familiar to the forward because she played men’s hockey during her high school years, where physical play is more commonplace and even encouraged.These penalties amounted for 12 of the 32 total penalty minutes during the Orange’s 2-1 overtime loss Saturday to the Purple Eagles.‘It’s obviously frustrating,’ Skelly said. ‘Sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool when you see other teammates, but there’s also a point where you’ve got to stand up for your teammates.’The Orange’s loss at Tennity Ice Pavilion followed an overtime game the night before that saw SU and the Purple Eagles skate to a 3-3 tie. Yet again, Syracuse (8-15-3, 0-3-3 College Hockey America) was able to come away with just one point in a weekend doubleheader against a conference foe. SU entered the weekend with confidence against a Purple Eagles (8-11-6, 1-2-1) squad going through similar struggles, but left the weekend disappointed and further buried in the conference standings. Niagara’s Kristin Richards scored an overtime goal with SU shorthanded to make sure there wouldn’t be another tie.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter Niagara took an early lead in the second match of the weekend Saturday, the physicality of the game started to pick up significantly. There had been some aggressiveness the night before, but the second game was choppy, as both teams tried to scramble for their first conference win.With the Orange shorthanded about five minutes into the period, Niagara defenseman — and former SU defenseman — Erin Burns stuck her gloves in the face of former teammate, Holly Carrie-Mattimoe. The two were tagged with matching minors.Just 14 seconds later, Skelly and Niagara defenseman Jocey Kleiber got tied up on the ice and received a pair of matching minors of their own.It took just another 17 seconds for another whistle to be blown. This time it was Niagara forward Kristin Richards getting two minutes for hooking.‘There was a lot of chirping going on,’ Flanagan said. ‘We didn’t have a particularly good first period. … There were times we totally controlled in that second period.’This hectic stretch, which at one point saw three skaters from either team sitting in the penalty box at the same time, gave Syracuse a needed boost.Just one minute after the boxes had emptied, Margot Scharfe won a faceoff and the puck went back to Kaillie Goodnough. The SU defenseman’s slapshot found its way past Niagara goaltender Sarah Moses for the freshman’s fourth-career goal.‘We had a lot of chances during that time period, but we’ve just got to learn how to bury it,’ Goodnough said. ‘ … I saw a wide open shot.’From there, the physical play cooled down a bit and so did the Orange offense. Midway through the third period, Skelly drew another penalty when Richards dragged her down by the collar, but it wasn’t enough for SU to pick up any momentum.Syracuse did have a pair of open net opportunities as the clock wound down in regulation, but a Purple Eagles defender was there to push the Orange skater off the puck each time.SU’s missed opportunities came back to haunt it in overtime. The Purple Eagles took advantage of a five-on-three to score the game-winner with just more than a minute left in overtime. For the entire game, Syracuse walked a fine line between being overly aggressive and just aggressive enough to gain momentum.In the end, the Orange lost that balance and continued its search for a CHA win.‘We’ve been playing well, and in many instances this weekend, we continued to play well,’ SU head coach Paul Flanagan said. ‘ … We’re still trying to get our first conference win.’Syracuse heads out of conference action and will try to regroup with a doubleheader at Quinnipiac this weekend. The Orange will then finish the season with six straight CHA games, still searching for that elusive first-conference win.‘There’s a lot of good things in that locker room,’ Flanagan said. ‘There’s a great bunch that really plays for each other. There’s no whining or complaining or blaming others, so those are good signs. … We just need to get better with the execution.’[email protected] Published on January 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img