Maddi Welch ‘a wall’ in Syracuse’s 2-1 win over Penn State

first_img Published on January 25, 2019 at 10:52 pm Contact Danny: [email protected] | @DannyEmerman Maddi Welch certainly has the hot hand.After mixed results last weekend, Welch solidified her spot at the top of the goalie depth chart by making a career-high 33 saves in Syracuse’s (6-17-1, 6-5 College Hockey America) 2-1 win over Penn State (9-11-4, 4-7 ). Plus, she did it all while playing against her sister, Abby, and in front of six family members in the Tennity bleachers. “She was a wall tonight,” sophomore defenseman Kristen Siermachesky said.Welch focused on slowing the Nittany Lions’ offense by holding soft shots for faceoffs and angling more challenging attempts to the corners to allow her defense to clear more easily. Limiting second chances is the main indicator, SU head coach Paul Flanagan said, of a confident goalie.In the first period, Welch recorded 12 saves, most of them routine stops. Early in the game, Penn State’s Katie McMillan slammed her stick against the boards in frustration after Welch caught her wrist shot from the right circle. Meanwhile, sophomore defenseman Jessica DiGirolamo gave SU a 1-0 cushion with a bouncing wrist shot from the top edge of the right circle.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPSU tested Welch more in the second, but the senior made two key stick saves to thwart odd-man rushes. During a power play late in the second, Welch made back-to-back saves with her leg pads before Natalie Heising ripped a wrist shot from the right circle, which Welch calmly snagged out of the air with her glove. Penn State’s frustrations continued, especially after redshirt senior Brooke Avery slotted a shot into the top shelf to give Syracuse a 2-0 lead.Since the beginning of the season, Welch has focused on limiting rebound chances, she said. Siermachesky called her rebound control “amazing.” Deflecting pucks into the corners takes pressure off defenders because it’s easier to clear from there instead of cleaning up in front of the net where there’s more traffic, Flanagan said. It took 47 minutes and 30 shots on goal for PSU to finally break through Welch. On a power play with 13 minutes left in the third period, Welch couldn’t funnel a shot to the corner like she had all night, and Penn State’s Katie Rankin finished the rebound. That cut Syracuse’s lead to 2-1, but Welch only had to make three more saves to secure the SU victory. Two of Welch’s 33 saves came against her sister, who would yell after shots to make sure Welch knew it was her. Though Welch said playing her sister Abby didn’t add any motivation, she said the two have a sibling rivalry. When they return home for summer, they practice against each other, keeping score of how many shots she rejects versus how many Abby scores, Welch said. Tonight, it was Welch two, Abby zero. Half of Syracuse’s wins this season have come against Penn State, with Welch in net for all of them. She’s allowed three goals in three games against the Nittany Lions, including a shutout on Nov. 3. In those games, Welch has rejected all four of her sister’s shots.  “She’s on a roll,” forward Anonda Hoppner said of Welch. “We owe a lot to her.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img