Syracuse ice hockey starting to turn around 3rd-period woes

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 31, 2016 at 10:08 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Head coach Paul Flanagan lamented his team’s poor conditioning after unraveling in the third period against Colgate on Oct. 21 in a 3-2 loss.“Losing a step” in the third period every weekend had cost the Orange as its record sat at a disappointing 0-4-2 heading into conference play.Snapping out of a third-period funk seemed paramount to SU’s success heading into a weekend series against Lindenwood. It did just that on Friday and Saturday in wins over the Lions.As Abbey Miller pitched two straight shutouts for the Orange, the offense took over, scoring four goals in both games. Each night, Syracuse tallied a third-period goal. Showing the ability to finish games is a key for Syracuse (2-4-2, 2-0 College Hockey America), and Flanagan said it comes down to the team’s conditioning.“If we’re slowing down in the third period then we need to figure out a way to keep going,” forward Alysha Burriss said. “And if that’s conditioning then that’s what we need to do. I think that for the most part we’re in pretty good shape, but there’s always room for improvement.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLeigh Ann Rodgers | Contributing PhotographerThrough the first six games, SU allowed six goals in the third period, four of which were game-tying, go-ahead or game-winning.The biggest let down of non-conference play came against Colgate when the Orange jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first ten minutes of the first game, only to watch it slowly slip away. Colgate scored the game-winning goal with 4:28 left in the game.One of Flanagan’s biggest takeaways from that game was SU’s pattern of slowing down in the third period, thus letting teams back into games.“I was a little frustrated,” Flanagan said, “I thought we were a step behind the last eight or ten minutes and that resulted in us just standing there watching on Friday night as (Colgate) scored the game winning goal.”Fixing the conditioning problem is relatively simple and just requires a little more time and work in practice to close any gap between Syracuse and other teams, players said.Players agreed with their coach but cited overconfidence and lack of enthusiasm late in games.“I don’t necessarily think it’s our conditioning,” Heather Schwarz said, “I think we’re maybe holding up a bit going into the third. When we have a lead we’re not going as quickly because we’re like, ‘Oh, we have a lead, let’s slow it down a bit.’“It gets to the second and third and it gets quiet on the bench and were not really cheering. We’re not keeping it upbeat.”Syracuse found the solution to its third-period slump against Lindenwood. The Orange jumped out to commanding leads in both games, entering the third period up 3-0 each night.SU did not slow down or let Lindenwood back in the game, notching its first two wins of the season.“I know these girls are working really hard,” Schwarz said. “But you know, more conditioning never hurt anyone.” Commentslast_img read more

Maybe it’s time to lower our expectations for Kobe Bryant

first_img“I give myself an F,” Bryant said when asked to grade himself.That is a harsh piece of self-criticism, to be sure.“I’m insanely critical,” Bryant said. “There’s a bunch of things I messed up on.”An even harsher truth is Bryant still has a long way to go before truly returning.If he ever does at all. LOS ANGELES >> As far as first steps go, it was clearly more of the baby variety than one giant leap for mankind.But then, it would have been a mistake to actually think Kobe Bryant would simply return to the Lakers eight months after rupturing an Achilles tendon and simply pick up right where he left off.No matter how much we wanted to see Bryant soar and glide and cut and pivot and slice up the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, that was about as likely as Dwight Howard winning a free-throw shooting contest.As evidenced by the nine points Bryant scored and the eight turnovers he committed in 28 mostly unsettled minutes. If so it will take a combination of things lining up, first and foremost the Achilles holding up and allowing him be the player he once was but also Bryant being confident enough in the rebuilt tendon to push it as hard as necessary.He admits he isn’t quite there yet mentally,“I’m still not sure exactly what I can do,” Bryant said. “You have to test it out. You have to keep pushing and pushing and then make adjustments and corrections.”None of which should be a surprise, no matter how much we hoped otherwise. He’s coming back from the sort of injury that ends careers, not one that temporarily diverts them.This isn’t the knee pain he’s grimaced through for years or the deformed finger injury he gallantly played through when most mortals would have immediately succumbed.It is the reconstruction of a vital tendon and a rehabilitation process normally timed in a year rather than months. And while the Hollywood crowd that showed up at Staples Center pined for one of those epic blockbusters they’re so accustomed to developing, even they’ll tell you no matter how much heart and soul and money you pour into a project, your chances of dropping a dud on the audience is just as high as delivering a smash hit.That isn’t to say Bryant bombed in his first game back, just that we might need to recalibrate our expectations.The fact he returned to the court as quickly as he did is the real achievement, and how well the Achilles held up after nearly 30 minutes and how good Bryant felt afterward are important markers to build upon.As far as the actual re-birth of the Kobe Bryant we all remember, well, that is going to take some time.If it ever happens at all.Bryant turned actual human on us that night he painfully limped off the court against the Golden State Warriors, the impenetrable shield he forever played with indefinitely suspended by a devastating injury.And Sunday was simply a continuation of that actuality as Bryant remained grounded most of the night while doing more probing and passing than flying, a bit thrown off by the speed of the game and not quite on the same page with the nearly rebuilt team around him.He didn’t take over as much as he tried to blend in.The man who could get off any shot at anytime spent as much time looking for teammates as he did his own shot.The Lakers played better without him than they did with him.And even when he returned to the floor late in the game and the Lakers creeping closer to the Raptors, he was more supporting cast than leading man.It was strange and odd and even a bit disconcerting.We are so used to seeing Bryant own these moments or conquering whatever obstacle is placed in his path. But it’s the new reality for Bryant, at least through this stage of his comeback.The most poignant element is how unsure he seemed of himself and his capabilities.How reluctant he seemed to just unleash.The last time Bryant was uncertain about his own ability?Or apprehensive and tentative?How about never.But get used to it.It was only two days ago Bryant felt comfortable enough to actually play in a game again.It’s going to take weeks before he’s confident enough to push his Achilles to the limit, or the level he needs to be the player we remember.Sunday was not that day, as the 2-for-9 shooting and eight turnovers proved.“This was a complete failure to me,” Bryant said.One he is determined to grow from.“I can’t wait to start watching the film and start criticizing everything,” Bryant said. “But that’s the exciting part. The exciting part is that you have a challenge, you have improvements to make. And you sit and watch them and break them down and get ready for the next game and take it from there.”No matter how much we wished for all that to come together Sunday, that wasn’t realistic.The hope now is that it happens at some point.But even that remains in question.vincent.bonsignore@langnews.com @DailyNewsVinny on Twittercenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more