BUFFALO, N.Y. – Champions! The Orange are College Hockey America champions for the first time in program history.
The Syracuse women’s hockey team (13-21-3) dominated top-seeded Robert Morris in the title game Friday night inside the Harborcenter, earning a 6-2 win over the Colonials. With the victory, the Orange clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Junior defenseman Allie Olnowich got the party started for Syracuse, scoring on a slap shot from the blue line midway through the first period. The Orange would enter the first intermission tied at one with Robert Morris, however, as the Colonials’ Caitlyn Sadowy scored with 35 seconds left in the period.
The second period was one of the most dominant 20 minutes of hockey in recent memory. Syracuse scored four times, delivering blow after blow to Robert Morris. Syracuse extended its lead to four in the span of 11 minutes, stunning the Colonials and taking complete control of the game.
The first goal of the second period came from sophomore defenseman Kristen Siermachesky, and she and the Orange were just getting started. Redshirt senior forward Brooke Avery, whose tally proved to be the game-winner, gave Syracuse a 3-1 lead three minutes later.
Junior forward Savannah Rennie and freshman forward Lauren Bellefontaine chipped in second-period goals after, growing the Orange’s lead to 5-1.
Robert Morris’ Jaycee Gebhard scored in the third period, but the Orange were in the driver’s seat by then. A late power-play goal from freshman forward Abby Moloughney was the final dagger, putting the finishing touches on Syracuse’s 6-2 victory.
As the final horn sounded, the Orange’s bench erupted in celebration and emptied onto the ice to mob junior goaltender Ady Cohen, who made 26 saves in net.
Syracuse swept the All-Tournament Team. Junior forward Anonda Hoppner was named the Most Valuable Player, putting up a tournament-high five points on two goals and three assists.
The other two forwards on the All-Tournament Team were Bellefontaine (1 goal, 3 assists) and Moloughney (2 goals, 2 assists). The defensive pair consisted of junior Lindsay Eastwood, who had a hat trick in the semifinals against Mercyhurst plus an assist in the quarterfinals, and sophomore Jessica DiGirolamo (3 assists).
The All-Tournament Team goaltender was Cohen. She led the Orange to two wins, stopping 55 of the 60 shots that came her way for a .917 save percentage.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
A trip to the NCAA Tournament is up next for the Orange. Syracuse, which receives an automatic bid as the No. 8 seed to the tournament, will learn more about its upcoming opponent at 9 p.m. Sunday, March 10.