Orange ice hockey hopes to benefit from competition of rotating goalies

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Paul Flanagan doesn’t know who to start at goalie for the Syracuse ice hockey team. The head coach jokes he’ll just have to leave it up to chance. ‘Get the Ouija board out on Thursday,’ he said. Lacking a clear-cut starter at goalie — a position many coaches build their teams around — could be seen as an ominous situation. But Flanagan views it in a more positive light. Freshmen Jenesica Drinkwater and Kallie Billadeau have brought out the best in each other in competing for the starting spot early in the season, Flanagan said. And even if the battle for the starting spot at goalie may not be the optimal situation for Flanagan’s team moving forward, he professes he is fine with that. With the two, there is no solidity there. But he is fine with that little element of chance. For now. ‘I think they work well together, it’s a healthy competition,’ Flanagan said. ‘I don’t see it as anything that’s negative about it. I think it’s all positive, especially when you’re two freshmen and everything’s new to them.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Drinkwater had 15 saves in a 4-4 tie with Northeastern in the season opener. Billadeau recorded 26 saves in an upset win over then-No. 8 New Hampshire and kept the Orange in the game with 34 saves in a losing effort against No. 7 Boston College over the weekend. Drinkwater wants to earn more starting opportunities. At the same time, she said she puts team goals above her own and wants to see her teammates in goal succeed, too. ‘I think all the goalies are really close,’ she said. ‘We all definitely push each other in practice. It’s only going to make us better.’ Billadeau has enjoyed the competition for the starting spot, but she said she doesn’t get caught up in comparisons with the other goalies. ‘I just try to stick to my game and focus on what I’m doing, not really worrying about what anybody else is doing out there,’ she said. ‘I just try to focus on me and doing my part.’ Through three games, Flanagan has noticed differences in their styles and skills in the net. He said Drinkwater relies on her athleticism to make plays. She has played in big games in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League and as a member of Team Ontario in the National Women’s U-18 Championship. She likes the challenge that comes with that big stage. Billadeau, the top goalie out of Minnesota, has a more technical style and uses good positioning to block the puck. Flanagan said he has been impressed by her calm demeanor on the ice. Both have displayed their talents so far. Their play will go a long way in the team’s success this season. It remains to be seen who Flanagan will ultimately choose, if he does decide to make that decision and veer from his complacency with chance. With the two freshmen taking over in goal, it’s a different situation for Flanagan and the Orange. Lucy Schoedel graduated after starting every game for the Orange in the program’s first two seasons. Now Flanagan is searching for strong play in net from whoever the next goalie will be. Building on that foundation is even more important with a young defense that is still finding its way. ‘It is such a key position,’ he said. ‘We also have a young defensive core, and it’s important for our ‘D’ to have confidence in their goaltender. We realize any decisions we make in terms of who’s in there has a pretty big bearing on how our team’s going to perform that night.’ Flanagan believes the situation will work itself out in a long season with 31 regular season games remaining. He swears he has time to wait. He’s taking it game by game. And though he doesn’t have a formula he will follow with the decision, he does have an end result in mind when making the call. Whatever is best for the rest of the team. And for now, he thinks leaving it up to chance is best for SU. ‘There’s not necessarily any rhyme or reason or pattern here,’ Flanagan said. ‘We’re just trying to look at different things and trying to figure out what’s best for our team heading into Friday night.’ rjgery@syr.educenter_img Published on October 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.edulast_img read more

Frank Nelson applauds Yatsuhashi for his commitment

first_imgAccra Hearts of Oak board member Frank Nelson has lauded coach Kenichi Yatsuhashi for his commitment to the club. The Japanese America on Wednesday posted on his twitter page that he is committed to seeing out his two year contract with the club despite talks that he was going to quit at the end of the season. According to Frank Nelson who doubles as a member of the strategy committee of the club, Kenichi has done the right thing,“That is the best thing for the coach to do because from the beginning he signed a two-year contract with us and from the contract I don’t think there have been any issue in terms of a breach from Hearts,” he told Joy Sports“We made sure we have stayed in line with all issues that have been raised and we have maintained stability that will make the contract a workable one.“I’m very happy he has come out to say he is ready to see of his contract and we will make sure we give him all he needs to ensure we do well because our club is what matters.”  –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more