first_imgThere isn’t much down time between a 7 p.m. game Friday and a 2 p.m. game Saturday. It feels like even less if Friday’s game ended in a loss.The dynamic of the overnight turnaround is not unique to collegiate ice hockey altogether, but it is a concept that this year’s Syracuse team is still working to grasp.‘It’s one thing for me to say that on Tuesday, but let’s see if our team can implement that on Friday and Saturday,’ head coach Paul Flanagan said.Flanagan compared the challenge in hockey to different sports. He said it’s not like football, where all is calculated mentally for one afternoon, and then each team has six days to regroup and reorganize. And it’s not like soccer, where most programs wedge a complementary off-day in between a weekend set. Hockey players are too tough for that. And the good ones, Flanagan said, are quick to adjust.  Syracuse, to this point, hasn’t figured it out. The Orange sits three games below .500.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Good teams figure that out,’ Flanagan said. ‘Look what Mercyhurst does to teams on Saturday. If you look at their scores, they know how to respond. And they quite often win on Friday, too.’Mercyhurst — the best team in College Hockey America, SU’s conference — has lost five games all season, only one of which came on a Friday. And after that loss, the Lakers dropped St. Lawrence 7-3. On Saturdays, Mercyhurst has outscored its opponents 80-23.It is easier said than done, but with a 20-5 record and a commanding lead in the conference standings, the Mercyhurst model for success proves that, simply, it’s important to play well on both Fridays and Saturdays.‘It’s difficult,’ junior forward Megan Skelly said of the turnaround. ‘You know when you step on the ice. The first shift is usually like, ‘Oh, s***, I better get my feet moving.”Skelly has played in all 26 games this season, scoring seven goals and assisting on 10 others. Now one of the veteran members of the team, she has a strong understanding of the pacing of the game and of the series as a whole.‘It’s hard, but it’s definitely changeable,’ Skelly said. ‘You come in the next shift, or you come in between periods and talk a little with the team. And then everyone goes out and works hard.’With eight games remaining in the regular season, Syracuse has actually been pretty consistent throughout its schedule. SU is 5-7-1 on Fridays, 4-5-1 on Saturdays and 1-1-1 on Tuesdays. SU has scored 31 goals on 13 Friday nights and 27 on 10 Saturday mornings, which equates to 2.38 and 2.7 goals per game, respectively. Last season, SU followed four different Friday losses with Saturday victories.This year, the team has accomplished that just once. Fellow forward Isabel Menard has a simple method for avoiding Saturday frustration: repetition.‘Either way, I’m really focused on the goals that I set for myself and for my teammates,’ Menard said. ‘In general, I focus on doing the same thing. And if we’re coming off a loss, doing things a little bit better. … We’re not really a good starting team, but we end pretty good. We just really have to work on being consistent. That’s going to be a key for the rest of the season.’Menard hurt her right ankle in last week’s series against Niagara and will look to return this weekend against Wayne State. SU has four Friday-Saturday series left to finish the regular season.For a team that is working to create a Mercyhurst-type setting of its own, Syracuse is going to have to find some consistency.‘The team that loses Friday night has got a different mindset on Saturday,’ Flanagan said. ‘We want to keep heading in the right direction. We’re still trying to find that recipe of putting together 60 minutes and then following it up with another 60.’[email protected] Comments Published on January 26, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more