first_img Published on February 21, 2013 at 1:55 am Contact David: [email protected] Syracuse has secured the No. 2 seed in the College Hockey America tournament already, but Lindenwood is fighting for the No. 3 seed.The Orange (18-13-1, 12-5-1 College Hockey America) is one win away from a program-high in wins, but this weekend, it might not be so easy for SU to get the victory against the Lady Lions (6-23-3, 6-9-3 CHA).“We recognize full well what Lindenwood is capable of doing,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “We know we’re going to have a good opponent, a hungry opponent, and it’s not just a couple games to finish out the season. I think it’s good that we’re going to have a competitive atmosphere.”Syracuse traveled to Lindenwood more than a month ago and came away with two wins. The Orange outscored the Lady Lions 10-2. But the Lions were without their starting goalkeeper. Flanagan said Lindenwood has everything to play for, which makes this weekend’s series a tougher test.SU doesn’t want to take the game lightly, and the Orange will use the weekend to fine-tune its power plays and stay sharp.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“(Nicole) Hensley is back in net. We didn’t see her last time, she was injured,” Flanagan said. “She’s having an unbelievable freshman year.”Last weekend, Hensley made 88 saves in a pair of wins against Robert Morris.Finding success on power plays has been an issue for the Orange all season. SU boasts a 10 percent conversion rate on power plays – the worst in the CHA. Lindenwood is third in the league with its 18 percent conversion rate.“We’re addressing our power play woes,” Flanagan said. “Sort of change-up in personnel and trying some different things.”Despite approaching this weekend just one win shy of the most in program history, players think there is a lot they need to work on beyond power plays. SU plans to use the Lindenwood games to sharpen its end zone coverage and forechecks ahead of the CHA tournament semifinals, forward Cara Johnson said.“Just using Lindenwood as practice for the tournament,” she said.Against Mercyhurst last weekend, Syracuse had trouble forcing turnovers on both ends of the ice. Improvement in that area will only help the offense.“I think our D-zone, if we have a strong defense, then we can get offensive opportunities,” forward Shiann Darkangelo said. “I think that’s the biggest thing.”Though this weekend doesn’t mean as much for Syracuse in the standings as it does for LU, these two games will be the last the Orange plays for two weeks.Flanagan and his team will have a bye next week before taking on the lowest remaining seed, according to the CHA website. Though that means the team will have extra time to rest, Flanagan thinks it could hurt SU in the long run.“I’m not a proponent of a bye weekend to be honest. Now that I’ve said that, it can work both ways,” Flanagan said. “In our sport, if you look at statistics, the teams in the other leagues that have had byes, have faltered, have a losing record.Flanagan said he won’t alter playing time dramatically for the team’s top players.“We want to keep our better players playing. Now do we have to push them to the limit, some of our players playing 25-28 minutes? Probably not,” Flanagan said. “We can hopefully work some players in there that don’t typically get too much ice time.”Flanagan said if the team is going to try and work on things to get better against Lindenwood this weekend, he wants to put his best players on the ice.Senior forward Holly Carrie-Mattimoe said Flanagan made that very clear after Saturday’s loss against Mercyhurst.“Coach made a point after the game. He said we can’t look past Lindenwood because we’ve had some close games against them,” Carrie-Mattimoe said. “They compete hard so we can’t take a day off, can’t take a shift off.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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