Drinkwater continues sharp play between the pipes against Penn State

first_imgOn Dec. 6, senior goaltender Jenesica Drinkwater allowed a last-second, game-winning goal to a Lindenwood team that had won just one out of its first 16 games.Since then, Drinkwater has gone 6-1 and registered Syracuse’s (14-9-2, 6-4-2 College Hockey America) only two shutouts on the season, most recently during a 3-0 victory against Penn State (4-19-2, 1-11-0) on Saturday afternoon that capped the Orange’s weekend sweep of the Nittany Lions.On the weekend, Drinkwater made 38 saves and allowed only two goals. It gave head coach Paul Flanagan plenty to praise.“I think she’s tracking the shots pretty well and doing a real good job of managing her rebounds and covering up loose pucks,” Flanagan said. “When goalies handle the puck well, it exudes their confidence.”On Friday night, Drinkwater logged 22 saves in Syracuse’s 3-2 overtime victory against Penn State, allowing two goals in the second period that Flanagan said couldn’t be blamed on her. In the overtime period, Drinkwater came up with a spectacular save to keep the game tied at two. It was a game-saving play that Flanagan said was the stop of the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDrinkwater also stopped all five shots that came her way on Penn State power plays throughout Friday’s game, something she wasn’t able to do against Rochester Institute of Technology on Jan. 17.Her only slip-up came shortly into overtime when she came out on a puck on her stick side, only to see it be passed across the goal and tapped toward an empty net.Much to the relief of Drinkwater, though, junior forward Allie LaCombe was there to rescue it off the line and preserve Syracuse’s chances.Since taking over full time for the injured Kallie Billadeau, teammates like LaCombe have nothing but compliments for the veteran leader.“Drinky being a senior, getting her chance to play a lot now, she’s been stepping up,” LaCombe said. “She’s been making the saves that she needs to, and she supports us back there. She’s really made a difference.”For Drinkwater, the keys to success are simple.“I’m just staying focused and trying to control my rebounds,” she said.That mantra boded well for Drinkwater on Saturday, as she stopped all 16 shots sent her way.Early on, Syracuse wasn’t able to get much going offensively, in part due to Penn State packing its entire team into the defensive third and repeatedly forcing the Orange to swing the puck around the perimeter rather than get a shot off.In instances like this, Drinkwater acknowledged that she has to up her game so that a struggling offense is still given chances to take a lead when it does break through.“If our team’s struggling a little, I just have to mentally stay focused,” Drinkwater said. “Just take it one shot at a time, let them come to me, and react to the puck.”This time around, Drinkwater stopped six shots on six separate power-play opportunities for Penn State, three of which came in the third period with another Drinkwater shutout hanging in the balance.Going forward, Flanagan knows who he’ll look to for stellar play between the pipes.“It’s her job,” he said. “Whether it’s a shutout or making the big save when you need it, she’s showing a lot of confidence in how she’s playing.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 27, 2014 at 12:26 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img