Storm Iota: Preparations under way in Honduras and Nicaragua

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Style heads for Ipswich wharfside

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Piacentini uses speed, work ethic to spearhead Orange attack

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Melissa Piacentini wasn’t ready to let her team’s playoff chances endure a major hit on its own home ice.She watched Syracuse allow a two-goal lead quickly evaporate in a 4:42 span against Rochester Institute of Technology. The game was tied 4-4 during the latter stretch of the third period.But as RIT gained momentum heading into overtime, the SU sophomore forward ended the comeback parade with a coast-to-coast goal 58 seconds into overtime.“She’s been doing a really good job being aggressive since we came back (from break),” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “On that particular night, she positioned herself well and wasn’t afraid to get in front of the net.”Piacentini’s consistent work ethic has been the driving force behind her surge in the second half of the season. Her two goals on Friday night bring her scoring total to five goals since Jan. 5. The sophomore hopes to carry her resurgence into this weekend, when Syracuse (12-9-2, 4-4-2 College Hockey America) hosts Penn State (4-17-2, 1-9) at Tennity Ice Pavilion. Friday night’s matchup is at 7 p.m., and Saturday’s tilt is scheduled to start at 2.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSenior Margot Scharfe plays alongside Piacentini on the same line, and is not surprised by her teammate’s performance. In Scharfe’s mind, Piacentini’s relentless motor has been on display since training camp back in August.“She’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” Scharfe said. “Watch her during practice and she scores all the time. She definitely works for everything that happens to her on the ice.”Piacentini said it was critical to have a few weeks off in December. It was during that period that she was able to rest both mentally and physically, which helped her become rejuvenated for the most crucial point in the season.“I think the break was helpful,” she said. “ It was time to refocus and then come back ready to play (the second half of season).”During the first half of the season, Piacentini’s hard work wasn’t translating to success on the stat sheet. While Piacentini continued showing great effort with the puck in her hand, her offensive production did not represent the effort she showed to her teammates on a daily basis. Now, her determination to become one of SU’s primary scorers is coming to fruition. She leads the team in goals scored since Jan. 5, which is the kind of success that Flanagan envisioned this season.“She’s been playing pretty well. I think some of our kids that have been playing well just haven’t been awarded statistically,” he said. “Sometimes those things have their way of working itself out.”Piacentini’s effort on the ice comes at a time where there is little margin for error. With the majority of games remaining coming against conference opponents, the team will rely on its most productive scorers more than ever.Her opportunity to become one of the primary offensive weapons has been aided by the season-ending injury suffered by forward Nicole Ferrara.In the junior Ferrara’s absence, Piacentini has shined.“We needed that. We haven’t had a lot of production from our forwards,” Flanagan said. “Before the season started, I would’ve thought Melissa would be one of our top scorers.”Piacentini’s hard work has stood out specifically through her effort on power plays. She has had two power play goals during her hot streak.“She’s just a smart player and a hard worker,” Scharfe said regarding Piacentini’s effort in power play situations. “She knows where to be at the right time.”As Syracuse prepares for the final five weeks of the regular season, the team’s success could be in the hands of its leading scorer in the month of January.But Piacentini is showing no indication of slowing down her production. She recognizes that the most important tasks lie ahead.“We all have the same goal,” Piacentini said. “And that is not losing a game the rest of the time and just working hard and hopefully get in the CHA Championship.” Comments Published on January 22, 2014 at 11:59 pmlast_img read more