Syracuse blows early 2-goal lead as No. 3 Cornell comes back to win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Paul Flanagan walked out of the locker room looking frustrated following his team’s 5-2 loss to Cornell.Moments later, the Syracuse head coach confirmed his anguish.“I’m not happy,” Flanagan snapped.He had good reason, too. SU (7-7-2, 2-2-2 College Hockey America) started out red hot en route to an early 2-0 lead against No. 3 Cornell (10-1-2, 6-0-2 Eastern College Athletic) at the OnCenter Complex on Tuesday night before imploding. Syracuse allowed four goals in a span of just more than 20 minutes.The first came with 1:01 left in the first period when Syracuse missed a defensive assignment, and Caroline DeBruin lifted a shot into the top of the cage to make it 2-1.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“You just can’t have that,” Flanagan said. “You make a mistake like that, it’s a critical mistake. All the momentum and all the good that we had done for 18 and a half minutes, was undone in that one play.”The first 18 and a half minutes were pretty good, though.Syracuse struck first, with Julie Knerr connecting on a well-designed play for the Orange. Cara Johnson kicked a pass across the net to Heather Schwarz, who fed the puck to Knerr who was well positioned in front of the net. She slapped home the game’s first goal less than seven minutes into the action.Despite the fancy “tic-tac-toe” goal, Knerr was far from satisfied with the final result.“It’s a good pump up, but we didn’t keep going the whole game,” Knerr said. “It’s kind of a letdown.”As quickly as Syracuse had taken the early advantage, it was taken right back. Just more than seven minutes into the second period, Jillian Saulnier was able to poke a shot past Billadeau to give the Big Red the 3-2 lead.There was a giant cluster of red jerseys in front of the net as Billadeau desperately tried to keep the game tied. The puck slid in without anyone noticing as the wrestling continued until the official signaled that Cornell had taken the lead.“I thought I had it covered, but I guess I didn’t,” Billadeau said. “It’s a lot of sticks so it’s hard to tell. They found a way to put it in the net.”Syracuse had its best opportunity to make a run, down 3-2 with 2:59 left in the second. The Big Red had two players in the penalty box and Syracuse was working with a five-to-three advantage.Then it was dashed. Only 25 seconds later Nicole Renault was called for holding, and the opportunity was all but vanquished.When Cassandra Poudrier came out of the penalty box to return the Big Red to full strength, she immediately took control of the puck. Ahead of a storming Syracuse defense, she pushed the puck past Billadeau to make the score 4-2.Flanagan said his team played hard, but made mistakes such as that that proved too costly.“There’s no satisfaction coming from that,” Flanagan said.” Even when it’s 3-2, we had power plays, we had chances. You’ve got to make plays. Our team can’t be shooting it right into their killers, right into their legs, we’ve got to be more creative than that.”The game’s first few minutes had a similar feel to when Syracuse upset then-No. 3 Boston College on Oct. 25. In that contest, Syracuse jumped out to a lead less than three minutes in.But against BC, Syracuse was able to hold on.This time around, Flanagan said it was just a couple of plays that prevented the Orange from a repeat celebration.“How much better are they? I don’t know, three or four plays,” he said. “Tonight it was three goals. But I thought it was three or four plays. We’ve got to be better.” Comments Published on December 4, 2013 at 3:28 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img

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