first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm After Syracuse earned its first lead 61 seconds into the game, the opportunity to build off the success quickly surfaced.Lindenwood goalie Nicole Hensley fell onto the ice seconds after Julie Knerr’s game-opening goal, requiring paramedics to take her off on a stretcher.The injury left the Tigers deflated without their best player, and the Orange took advantage.“We were just trying to keep the momentum on our side (after the injury),” Knerr said. “We were kind of worried we were going to lose the momentum, but we did good and kept it going.”The Orange (20-13-3, 9-8-3 College Hockey America) unleashed on the Tigers (5-26-3, 5-13-2) en route to a 6-0 victory. The win set SU up with a rematch against Mercyhurst in the College Hockey America semifinals next week in Erie, Pa.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Hensley was carried out of the arena, the Orange prepared to feast on an opponent that had just lost its most valuable player.Knerr had just pushed the Orange ahead 1-0, and was encouraging her teammates to be more aggressive than ever and seize the opportunity to build a multi-goal lead before the end of the first period.“We knew (the backup goalie) didn’t have a lot of experience, so we told each other to shoot the puck more often,” Knerr said. “Any shot on net was good.”Less than six minutes later, captain Margot Scharfe answered Knerr’s call with a goal of her own that gave the Orange the 2-0 lead and a noticeable swagger. And when Heather Schwartz joined in with another 12:04 into the first period, Syracuse could no longer hide its joy on the ice.The starters celebrated the recent string of goals by high-fiving their teammates on the bench, and fist-bumped each other on the ice. They were well aware of how the injury to Hensley — and an influx of first-period goals — further improved the chances of victory.“When a team is down three or four goals, they kind of seemed defeated so it was good to really take advantage of the chances,” Scharfe said.With a three-goal lead, the Syracuse skaters began playing comfortably by taking advantage of individual chances to put the puck in the net.Melissa Piacentini, known for her offensive prowess, added two consecutive goals against Lindenwood’s backup goalie Alexis Molotky.After scoring her first goal midway through the second period, Piacentini provided the team’s fifth goal in the final period of play.Scharfe attributed the amount of offensive success from her teammates to the confidence they built throughout the game.“Once we knew we could keep putting them in the back of the net, we were able to keep the momentum going,” Scharfe said.With the game out of reach by the final period, players from SU’s secondary lines were given ample playing time.Senior Cara Johnson added the sixth and final goal for the Orange, which put the final punctuation mark on the quarterfinals sweep of the Tigers.The attention for Syracuse turns to Mercyhurst — an opponent that the Orange has never defeated in program history.“I think, more than anything, that as long as the girls have the confidence to score goals and get those chances,” Flanagan said, “it gives them the confidence that they need for next Friday.” Commentslast_img

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