Syracuse women’s ice hockey penalty-filled contest ends in 3-2 OT loss against Colgate

SU women's ice hockey loses 3-2 to Colgate in OT

Freshman Rayla Clemons grabbed her first two collegiate goals in the season opener.
Published: November 21, 2020
SU women's ice hockey goalie Allison Small
SU women's ice hockey goalie Allison Small stands in her crease watching the action at the other end of the ice during the 2020 season.

High levels of excitement filled the air as the first puck drop of the season hit the freshly cleaned Syracuse “S” at center ice in the Tennity Ice Pavilion on Friday to start off the Orange’s 3-2 OT loss against Colgate.

The energy was kept alive by screams from both benches as this was the first competition either team has seen in months outside of practices.

Syracuse’s enthusiasm could have just as easily been a result of head coach Paul Flanagan, who encouraged his players to have fun heading into the matchup.

“Keep things simple, don’t try and do too much,” said Flanagan. “Have some fun and play and don’t get wound up too tight.”

Syracuse, the 2019 CHA Champions, grabbed an early lead with a tap in from freshman forward Rayla Clemons. Her first collegiate goal was assisted by Victoria Klimek and co-captain Kristen Siermachesky just 1:07 into the first period.

The Orange named a trio of seniors to lead their team earlier this week. Captains Siermachesky and Jessica DiGirolamo are joined by alternate captain Emma Polaski heading into the 2020-21 season.

Syracuse led a quick-paced game, dominating both offense and defense early. But the Raiders regained their footing as the period went on, resulting in a pretty back and forth contest after Syracuse’s initial domination.

Despite Colgate piling on the pressure, Syracuse wasn’t done logging points in the first frame just yet.

Klimek and Clemons connected again for their second points of the night as Klimek flew down the right side of the ice, flinging the puck over to Clemons who popped it past Colgate goaltender Kayle Osborne, lifting the Orange to a 2-0 lead with 4:13 left in the first period.

Colgate ended the period on the power play but was unable to capitalize as senior Syracuse netminder Allison Small stayed strong, knocking away the Raiders five shots on goal.

Syracuse started off the second period with an early penalty, allowing increased offensive pressure for Colgate and multiple shots on goal.

But Small came through again, successfully killing the penalty and bringing her team back to full strength unharmed.

Coach Flanagan commended Small’s performance, calling her a confident goaltender.

“She was seeing the puck well,” said Flanagan. “You could tell she was moving well, she was recovering well for her rebounds and covering the puck up.”

Surprisingly, amid a stanza riddled with penalties, both teams saw a fairly quiet middle period in terms of scoring. Small brought the Orange into the second intermission still up 2-0 after stopping all eight shots on goal and Colgate’s Osborne stopped all four of hers.

Colgate looked to reenergize their team heading into the third period, showing support for their teammates as everyone on the bench remained standing the entire frame, shouting out audible reactions to every play.

Their words of encouragement paid off, as the Raiders grabbed their first goal of the night with 9:40 remaining in the final period. Sophomore defenseman Maggie MacEachern logged her first goal of the season, and Colgate closed in on Syracuse 2-1.

Shortly after, Syracuse faced two penalties, Brynn Koocher for interference and Klimek for tripping, handing Colgate a 5-3 player advantage with just under seven minutes left in regulation.

After a review of the play, Colgate’s 2-2 equalizer was ruled a goal with 6:03 left on the clock. Senior captain for the Raiders Malia Schneider tallied her first goal of the season with Allyson Simpson and Sydney Bard grabbing the assists.

Just 19 seconds into overtime, Colgate whipped the game-winning goal past Small to secure the win, 3-2.

Heading into the matchup, Colgate led the overall series 13-5-3 with the last Orange win coming in the 2014-15 season opener at Syracuse. Friday’s contest brings the series to 14-5-3 in favor of the Raiders.

The Orange finishes off their only non-conference battles of the season on Saturday at 4 p.m., facing off against Colgate at the Class of 1965 Arena.

As for the rest of the season following the completion of Saturday’s game, coach Flanagan says there’s a lot of uncertainty.

“We do have a schedule on paper moving forward,” said Flanagan. “I feel our league has strategized and put us ourselves in a pretty good situation moving forward.”

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