After sweep by Ohio State, SU aims to sure up fundamentals

first_img Published on November 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Following consecutive losses against Ohio State last weekend, the Syracuse ice hockey team is now faced with its first real adversity of the season and its fair share of work. But on a team with 10 rotating freshmen and 11 new players, adversity is a good thing. It’s a learning experience. And before the schedule begins to creep into conference play, the coaching staff is working to get through that adversity to restore the little things that make the team effective. ‘Not to say that they’re confused,’ associate coach Graham Thomas said. ‘But the game happens so fast, and you have to worry about playing on instincts and making quick decisions. Sometimes I think there’s too much going on in their heads, and they’re not playing on instincts. Thinking too much instead of reacting and playing.’ This week, Syracuse has replaced full-squad practices with individual workouts, stressing fundamentals, skill breakdowns and a reiteration of roles in the team’s system. At 4-4-1, SU has completed just over a quarter of its 34-game season. The Orange had a frustrating weekend against Ohio State, cluttered with unlucky bounces and poor execution against the Buckeyes. While losing 4-2 last Saturday, SU was outshooting OSU by more than 20. Syracuse is doing what it can to take control of future momentum swings, as plainly as possible.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text And that can’t start halfway through its next second period. It has to start in practice. ‘What we’re really focusing on right now is that we don’t want to get too caught up and too carried away with what the other team is doing,’ Thomas said. ”Consistency in preparation’ is a term that we’ve been using with our players. I think that starts with focusing a lot about what we’re going to do to be successful and not worrying too much about them.’ Syracuse will meet Clarkson twice in a home-and-home series over the next two weekends, beginning at the Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion Friday. The Knights, who have been 3-2-1 since mid-October, own a 3-6-1 overall record and are taking a break from their own conference play to meet the Orange. Clarkson has 11 juniors and seniors with a senior goaltender. Syracuse has just eight upperclassmen, with freshman goalies seeing most of the work. Coaches stress preparation because this is a point in which the season can start to move very quickly for a young player. ‘I think together, it’s a good group,’ head coach Paul Flanagan said of his new group. ‘They’re outnumbered, of course. There are just three seniors with so many freshmen and sophomores. If anything, that’s the tough part of it. It’s their first few months away from home, in a strange environment, all these freedoms as individuals and all this work they have to do. There’s a lot going on.’ Early on, Syracuse was hanging with nationally ranked opponents and toppling lesser ones. Perhaps Ohio State was worth all the hype and Syracuse will have to lick its wounds and get up off the deck. But either way, this young Syracuse team and program will have to grow up fast. And for SU’s players, that means getting back to the basic skills that got them to this point. SU players won’t exactly know how good the opponent will be until they go over the game film on Thursday, and maybe even until they hit the ice on Friday. But in a sense, that’s not too important right now. If Syracuse is going to get its work done on Friday, it will be because its players are able to focus on themselves and not their opponents. ‘I wouldn’t say that we’re over-preparing, but what we need to do is simplify our approach. Keep it more streamlined,’ Thomas said. ‘More simple. More about what we have to do to execute to be successful on our end.’ [email protected]center_img Commentslast_img read more

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