IHOC : Syracuse searching for 1st conference win against conference powerhouse Mercyhurst

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse has never been able to figure out the dynasty that’s keeping it from permanently ascending to the top of the conference. Mercyhurst has the Orange’s number.Although SU has come close to toppling the Lakers, it has never been able to pull through completely. And Kallie Billadeau said that has SU motivated to take on Mercyhurst again.‘They’ve just been a big dynasty, and we’ve never really been able to beat them,’ Billadeau said. ‘They push us physically, and that’s all you can ask for is a great rival like that.’The Syracuse program is only 4 years old, but it has not beaten Mercyhurst in 16 tries. Even during this disappointing season, the Orange earned its first-ever tie with the Lakers on Jan. 7 at Tennity Ice Pavilion. Now, still searching for its first conference win of the season, the Orange (9-18-3, 0-5-3 College Hockey America) travels to Erie, Pa., with a pair of opportunities to knock off the No. 5 Lakers (19-6-2, 5-1-2 CHA) and add a signature victory down the stretch.During the first-ever series between the teams, the Lakers rubbed Orange head coach Paul Flanagan the wrong way.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse kept the deficit to 2-1 until late in the third period before the Lakers scored a pair of late goals to finish with a 4-1 victory. In the second match, Mercyhurst ran up the score on the overmatched Orange in a 7-1 win.‘We felt we’re not that far off,’ Flanagan said. ‘Then we came up here for Saturday afternoon and they beat us 8-1 (sic). And they had Meghan Agosta and all their top players on the ice with 45 seconds left to play on their power play to try to make it 9-1.‘They were just trying to kill us, and I felt that was just kind of dirty play. I don’t coach that way. I would never coach that way.’Since then, Syracuse has played plenty of meaningful games with Mercyhurst, but each time SU came up short. In each of the past two seasons, the Lakers knocked off Syracuse in the CHA championship, preventing the program with aspirations to reach the NCAA tournament.For the program to achieve that lofty goal, it needs to prove it can compete with elite competition. Until this season, the Orange hadn’t even managed a tie with Mercyhurst.This year, the team broke through.For a team that has played the Lakers tough, it was only a matter of time for SU to finally salvage a point. Now that Syracuse has proven it can play with Mercyhurst, the next step is getting a win.‘We tied them the last time but were not happy with that,’ SU forward Margot Scharfe said. ‘We want to beat them and make some history and show them that we can compete with them.’And though the game against the Lakers serves as a bit of extra motivation, the biggest concern right now for this Orange team is simply getting a conference win.Earlier in the season, SU went more than a month without a victory, but recently the team has shown flashes that it is able to win games. The Orange struggled for much of January with scoring goals, but Scharfe emerged as a go-to scorer to spark SU’s offense.But lately, the defense has faltered, allowing nine goals to Robert Morris in two losses last weekend.Flanagan has emphasized the importance of playing a full 60 minutes all season. Unfortunately for Syracuse, that has been something it has struggled to do. That being said, the Orange is motivated to put together a complete performance against Mercyhurst.And SU is hoping that will be enough to finally take down the conference powerhouse.‘Honestly,’ Billadeau said. ‘Our first conference win alone is much needed, but definitely against them it would be something special and something that we would never forget, so we’ll try to make it happen.’[email protected]center_img Published on February 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2last_img

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