Stepping up during a strange season

Standout in strange season

Women’s ice hockey skater Victoria Klimek racks up points early in her senior year.
Published: December 10, 2020
Wome's Hockey
Syracuse women’s ice hockey’s Victoria Klimek takes a shot on goal in their game against RIT on Nov. 27, 2020 at the Tennity Ice Pavilion.

Senior right winger Victoria Klimek raced down the ice, surpassing all Penn State defenders and with a few quick back-and-forth taps of the puck, threw off the Nittany Lions goaltender just enough to tally her third goal of the season and the first of her three-goal weekend.

“That goal she scored on Saturday … it was a really nice goal,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “That’s building confidence for her and I think it’s good for our younger players to see that too.”

Klimek currently leads the team in scoring, sliding into the top position with four goals and two assists in just five games. Logging all three goals in the Orange’s two games against Penn State this past weekend, the Orangeville, Ontario, native earned the CHA Player of the Week honors for the second time in her collegiate career.

“Obviously, I would rather get a win,” Klimek said of her recent achievement. “It would be nice if we would win and then maybe get the award. But overall, I’m just trying to stay confident, not worry about the things I can’t control and not dwell on mistakes and just keep moving forward.”

That confidence, Flanagan said, has not always been there for the 5-foot-8 forward. But with Klimek’s recent success, he’s watched that change unfold right before his eyes.

“I know for Vic, her career here has been kind of up and down at times,” Flanagan said. “She’s been a real bright spot offensively and she’s got a lot of speed and a lot of energy. That’s the way she plays. Sometimes we’re not sure what she’s going to do but it’s been very effective for her.”

Klimek has also noticed that change in confidence in herself.

“I’ve definitely had experiences where I’ve lacked confidence and it didn’t benefit me at all,” Klimek said. “I’ve really just been trying to keep calm, focus on my game, try to stay positive and do everything that I can to have my best game.”

Donning number 27, Klimek has taken on a leadership role as well as a senior in a sea of seven freshmen skaters.

“She’s not wearing a letter or anything but she’s showing a lot of good leadership ability,” Flanagan said. “We’re going to rely on her and lean on her heavily here to continue to produce for us offensively and do a good job defensively and join that leadership group.”

As for Klimek, humility is her strong suit and she believes that leadership can be found in any one of her teammates.

“I don’t really think it matters if you have a letter on your chest,” Klimek said. “I try my best to help the younger girls out and do my job and I think that makes me a leader in a way. But everybody also has great characteristics of a leader.”

Heading into this weekend’s rematch against Penn State, she looks to add more to the scoreboard and hopes to earn a well-deserved win or two.

“I think, obviously, our main goal is to get four points this weekend,” Klimek said. “We need to have that urgency throughout the whole game and I think that confidence is a big thing for all of us. We need to come out and believe that we can do it. We can’t let mistakes affect our game mentally or physically.”

Avatar for Emily Barnes

is a magazine, news and online graduate student and sports lead producer for The NewsHouse.