IHOC : Darkangelo provides boost to SU’s special teams unit in freshman season

first_imgShiann Darkangelo knew she wanted to continue playing hockey in college. So after meeting Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan at the conclusion of a tournament last year, she was intrigued by the possibility of playing for the Orange.After visiting the campus, she quickly decided Syracuse was the right fit.‘The hockey is better on the East Coast, and I really liked the coaching staff and new facilities,’ said Darkangelo, who is from Michigan. ‘I thought it was a good choice.’Twelve games into her freshman season, Darkangelo has found her place in the Syracuse lineup. She has quickly picked up Flanagan’s system, becoming a fixture on both the power play and penalty kill units. The 5-foot-9 forward brings an aggressive attitude to the Orange offense, leading the team with 40 shots this season. Her teammates describe Darkangelo as an unselfish player who always looks to make the next pass on offense and is willing to sacrifice her body on defense.Darkangelo developed that versatile skill set while she starred on Detroit’s Little Caesar’s U-19 Team and participated in the Under-18 Ice Hockey World Championships.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFlanagan had been watching Darkangelo play for a few years, but he said he hadn’t made a connection with her. Then, Flanagan received a phone call from a friend whose daughter played with Darkangelo on Detroit’s Little Caesar’s. That connection led to Flanagan’s meeting with her after the tournament last season.They set up the campus visit, and her family came to Syracuse with her. The head coach landed Darkangelo, a player who had impressed over the years on the recruiting trail.‘She played on a high-profile team with Little Caesar’s, and it’s a team that you see play in a lot of different competitions,’ Flanagan said. ‘Her size, her skating skill, her puck skills, certainly attracted us.’That talent has earned her valuable minutes on the ice in her first season. She has recorded four assists so far, but she is still searching for her first career goal despite leading the team in shots.Rather than getting caught up in scoring, though, Darkangelo focuses on the small things, such as blocking shots to help get her game going. Flanagan said that she has been a little unlucky on her scoring attempts, but once she gets the first one, the rest will start to pour in. Darkangelo works hard at being a student of the game in an effort to become a better two-way forward. Behind the scenes, she puts in a lot of time watching game tape because she wants to improve as a player.‘After our 10 a.m. practice the other day, she came in and did video with my assistant coach for over an hour,’ Flanagan said.  ‘She just wants to learn.’That preparation is apparent in Darkangelo’s contributions to the penalty kill and power-play units on a team that has struggled in those areas. She takes pride in her play on defense, constantly practicing blocking shots.In playing the top of the box on the penalty kill, Darkangelo is responsible for blocking shots from the point and getting her stick in the passing lanes to protect the middle of the box. Against McGill on Nov. 4, her head was constantly on a swivel, as she twice broke up passes from the wing intended for the defender.The forward believes her work ethic and active play will only make her a better player as the season goes on.‘I know if I just keep working hard, everything else will come with it,’ Darkangelo said.That attitude has earned her respect from her teammates both on the ice and in the locker room. Caitlin Roach, a sophomore defender, used to play travel hockey against Darkangelo in Michigan. After previously being rivals, Roach knew all about her talent and understanding of the game.‘She brings a lot of strength and power on the ice against other players,’ Roach said. ‘She can see the ice well and move the puck to everybody.’Moving forward, Darkangelo is keeping the same unselfish attitude. If she keeps working hard, good things will come for her and the Orange.Said Darkangelo: ‘If I get better, I will help the team get better.’[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on November 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Bryan: [email protected]last_img

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