Published on October 16, 2014 at 12:30 am Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse’s second line is made up of three true freshmen and has been its most impressive this season. “They just can make plays,” head coach Paul Flanagan said after a 1-1 tie with Northeastern last Friday. “I don’t know how they didn’t score more goals tonight.”Wings Emily Costales and Alysha Burriss join center Stephanie Grossi when the second line hits the ice and through four games, it is the only SU line with a positive plus/minus. The line also leads the team in goals, shots and points, and will look to continue its success when the Orange (1-1-2) takes on Providence (0-4-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m. and New Hampshire on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Tennity Ice Pavilion.“They’re pretty consistent,” Flanagan said of his second line. “Of all our lines, they’re consistent in making things happen.”The line was not put together with the intention of sticking three freshmen together, Flanagan said. It just worked out that way.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlthough they aren’t roommates, the three live next to each other and spend a lot of time together off the ice. Grossi said they go to class together.“After the games we’ll go and talk about the game, what things we could’ve done differently,” Burriss said. “We’re always talking about things that we can improve on and work on.”When the freshmen are on the ice together, the Orange seems to be attacking more often, stuck in fewer long defensive shifts.Grossi herself leads the team in points, goals and shots. Burriss has chipped in a goal of her own to go along with an assist on Grossi’s first career goal. Costales assisted on Burriss’ goal against Northeastern.“It’s awesome. They’re really starting to click,” junior defender Nicole Renault said. “They’re really good together, they’re always supporting each other.”The three forwards contribute on defense, too. Renault praised their communication in the defensive zone, both with each other and with the defenders behind them.In the defensive zone, SU keeps two forwards at the point with one back helping the defenders, a strategy Renault said requires a lot of communication.“They get the puck out efficiently. When they’re out there, the other teams aren’t getting a lot of chances,” Flanagan said.Flanagan preaches puck management and said the second line does “a real good job with it.” Transitioning from defense to offense, they seamlessly get the puck through the neutral zone and into the attacking third.Although some coaches may not trust untested freshmen with a game on the line, Flanagan does.“In overtime (against Northeastern), with a minute and a half to go,” Flanagan said, “I looked at (assistant coach Brendon Knight) and I said, ‘Holy, we’ve got five freshmen out there in overtime in a 1-1 ballgame,’ and feeling good about it.” At that time, two freshmen defenders were on the ice at that time as well, and Syracuse and Northeastern ended in a tie.The coach hasn’t been happy with the play of his upperclassmen so far in the season, believing they should be contributing more on offense, but said “it’s really good to see” new players stepping up.The Orange will need its freshman line to continue its strong offensive play this weekend, since SU is averaging 1.8 goals scored per game while giving up an average of 3.5.Said Flanagan: “All three of them have pretty good chemistry in their young careers and they know how to make the little plays that make a difference.” Comments
"Freshmen line of Costales, Burriss, Grossi lead Syracuse offense in early going"