MINNEAPOLIS — Syracuse got a pair of first-period goals and sophomore goaltender Jenesica Drinkwater made the lead stand up for a 2-1 victory over St. Cloud State on Friday in the first game of the East/West Classic in Ridder Arena.
“All in all for the first night out, because you never know, we’ve got a lot of young players, I thought it was good,” Syracuse coach Paul Flanagan said.
Sadie St. Germain put Syracuse (1-0) up 1-0 when she converted a rebound from Allie Lacombe with just over 3 minutes remaining in the opening period.
The Orange lead doubled on another rebound goal less than two minutes later, this time courtesy of senior Lisa Mullan. The referee initially waved off the tally, ruling that the puck had been directed in illegally. However, video review revealed that Mullan knocked the puck out of the air with her glove, but directed it in with her stick before it crossed the goal line.
“My first reaction was to skate right after the ref and ask her if she could look at the video replay; I didn’t even know if there was video replay,” Mullan said. “It was just like the most nervous minute and a half of my life, just watching the refs, I couldn’t concentrate on anything.”
Mullan added: “It was pretty close to me just throwing it into the net, but at the last second, I realized that’s not allowed.”
SCSU (0-1) got a rebound goal of its own in the second period to cut the lead to 2-1. Haylea Schmid was able to fish the puck around Drinkwater and it edged over the line.
“I just got out of the box,” Schmid said. “Alex [Nelson] fed me right out in front and I got the rebound.”
Despite some good pressure by the Huskies at the end, they were unable to come up with an equalizer.
“We weren’t able to put away the rebounds,” Schmid said. “We had them there, but we weren’t able to put them away.”
“I thought we hung tough at the end when we needed to and got some great goaltending,” Flanagan said.
Drinkwater finished with 32 saves in earning the win, while Tayler VanDenakker made 19 stops for the Huskies.
“Couple goals that bounced the wrong way on us, and we came back,” St. Cloud coach Jeff Giesen said. “That’s kind of that first-game thing. We didn’t have an exhibition game, so nothing to get warmed up on, so you’re kind of throwing some young kids out there and seeing what happens.”
Both coaches said they were happy with what they saw from their young players in particular and their teams in general as they turn their attention to Saturday. The Huskies face Union, while Syracuse meets Minnesota in the nightcap.
“Have a good weekend, try to get a win, and try to play well,” Giesen said.