Full-time goalie Drinkwater fights off stomach virus, prepares for CHA tournament

first_img Published on February 26, 2014 at 11:39 pm Syracuse goalie Jenesica Drinkwater encountered a roadblock as she began preparing for the final postseason run of her career this week — missing practice Monday and Tuesday with a stomach virus.But Drinkwater is not going to let her final opportunity at a Conference Hockey America championship slip away by missing SU’s upcoming weekend series against Lindenwood.“It sucks being sick but with the big games coming up, I’m not going to let my team down,” Drinkwater said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to keep them in the game.”Drinkwater has played every single game during the second half of the regular season, and has provided stability and toughness to the goalie position. She leads the Orange (18-13-3, 9-8-3 CHA) into the first round of the CHA playoffs against the Tigers (5-24-3, 5-13-2), which will be a three-game series at Tennity Ice Pavilion this weekend. Head coach Paul Flanagan gave the nod to Drinkwater when Kallie Billadeau sustained an injury in December, and has not looked back. Drinkwater could potentially play three consecutive days this weekend — Flanagan said there is no other option.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Her confidence should be really high. She’s been playing as well as she has ever played,” he added. ”Drinkwater has known for a while that she has been the go-to goalie, and she is accepting that.”Flanagan shows faith in Drinkwater because she has experience playing in the postseason. Her most notable postseason performance was when she saved a career-high 38 shots against conference foe Mercyhurst during the CHA semifinals in 2012.Drinkwater’s prior experience in the playoffs allows her to stay calm and focus on her normal routine as she prepares for Lindenwood.“Personally, I just try to take it as another game,” Drinkwater said. “At the same time, it’s a big game. I’m going to come out and keep them from the back of the net.”The defense in front of her, compiled of veterans who also possess playoff experience, is confident in Drinkwater’s ability to handle the goaltending duties for the entire postseason. Defender Caitlin Roach has seen the way Drinkwater preps her body before and after games, and that makes her very confident in the goalie’s ability to stay fresh throughout the playoffs. “I think she takes care of herself really well after games,” Roach said. “If she didn’t go and do that I think she would be fatigued throughout the weekend, but that isn’t a concern.”Since becoming the lone goalie in 2014, she hasn’t received much rest, if any at all. But that’s not a concern, as she has allowed an average of fewer than two goals per game. “I’m going to give it all I have. I’m not going to think about getting fatigued,” Drinkwater said. “I’ve trained really hard over these last four years.”Flanagan believes that the team’s focus does not need to be on Drinkwater, but instead on the lack of scoring from her teammates. SU’s offense stalled last week against Rochester Institute of Technology, when the Orange scored two goals combined in the last two games. But Syracuse will need to give Drinkwater just a little support, as she has a record of 10-5-1 since becoming the full-time starter. “It’s a bonus for us that she has been playing down the stretch. We would be going back and forth (at goalie) if Billadeau was still here,” Flanagan said. “But we don’t have that decision. “It makes it easy for us since Drink is back there and hopefully she continues to stay healthy.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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