Allison Small stars in 1-0 loss to Penn State

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 25, 2020 at 12:02 am Contact Will: [email protected] After shutting out Roger Morris a week earlier, junior goalkeeper Allison Small once again found herself entering the third period with a clean slate. Both teams, in fact, entered the third period without goals. Without a goal from her Syracuse teammates, Small had to keep the puck out of the net for 20 more minutes to give the Orange a chance.However, Small couldn’t finish the game perfectly, and Syracuse (7-16-1, 6-4-1 College Hockey America) was on the receiving end of a bad bounce and was edged out by Penn State (10-9-6, 5-3-3) on Friday night, 1-0. The goal that lifted the Nittany Lions over the Orange was deflected by a wall of legs, and before Small could react Penn State senior Brooke Madsen finished it. “Sometimes you just get puck luck and sometimes you don’t,” Small said after her 21-save performance. “Tonight, you know, they got that bounce at the end, it’s just tough when those go and you want them to go your way but they go the other way.”For the past two weekends, Small has been the Orange’s most consistent asset, stopping 53 of 54 shots. Friday night, her performance was highlighted by multiple breakaway stops and odd-man rush saves. SU defender Jessica DiGirolamo said Small has been feeling more confident in net and noted how the goalie’s communication skills help the team quickly transition from defence to offense. Breakaways and odd-man rushes were a recurring feature of the game for both teams, especially in the later periods as players began to fatigue. The pace of play all game was fast and physical.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think that both teams are just trying to be aggressive,” DiGirolamo said. “And that’s when the D jump in on both sides. And that’s why it comes to these odd man rushes.”While Penn State struggled to score on Small, Syracuse had similar issues with Chantal Burke. The Nittany Lions’ junior goalie came into the match fourth in the nation in goals against average (1.50) and shutouts (5). Small was playing Burke shot-for-shot. For every impressive save Burke had against the Orange, Small would match it 200 feet away.Over the course of the season, Small has improved her goals against average with strong performances against conference teams. Halfway through November, after a 4-3 loss to St. Lawrence, Small’s GAA was 4.02. Her record was 0-8-0. Since that game, Small has gone 3-2-1 – including two shutout wins over Lindenwood and Robert Morris — to improve her GAA to 2.67. Small’s save percentage has also improved in that same period, going from .877 to .906.“She played well,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said. “I didn’t see where they had sustained pressure on us a lot, but she didn’t have to make a ton of saves five on three. It wasn’t anything where they really were all over us at times, but when we needed her she made some good saves.”In addition to Small’s strong play on the goal-line,  Syracuse’s defense stepped in front of six Penn State shots and had a dozen stick checks that nullified a Penn State attack before it could begin. The success of these defensive play will play a major role in deciding who wins the Saturday rematch.“I definitely have to give a lot of credit to my teammates,” Small said. “You know, they put a lot of confidence in me, it helps me play better. Overall, it’s just been a great team game and we’re all playing strong and for them to play well, it’s making me play better.” Commentslast_img

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