Martyniuk proves to be dual threat in first year as Syracuse defender

first_img Published on February 20, 2014 at 2:17 am Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+ Larissa Martyniuk no longer seems like a freshman.In the eyes of Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan, the first-year defender has played well beyond her years, especially as of late.Martyniuk had a goal and an assist in Syracuse’s 5-2 win over Lindenwood on Friday. Then on Saturday, she assisted on the game-tying goal in a 2-1 comeback victory over the Lions.She’ll look to carry her hot streak into the final two regular-season games this weekend, when the Orange (18-11-3, 9-6-3 College Hockey America) plays a home-and-home series against Rochester Institute of Technology (14-15-3, 9-7-2). “The team started off the game really well and it just gets you going,” Martyniuk said of her two-point performance Friday. “You kind of just feed off of everyone else, and that’s what I did all game.” AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Monday, Martyniuk was named the College Hockey America Rookie of the Week after her team-high three points in the weekend sweep. She now has 15 points on the year, placing her second on the team and third in the conference among freshmen.She also ranks fifth in the conference for most points by a defender and poses as a serious dual-threat player heading into the regular season’s final weekend and beyond.“She’s not a freshman anymore in our perspective,” Flanagan said. “We’ve put a lot of faith in her and she’s returned it with just consistent play.”Flanagan noted how Martyniuk’s confidence has grown significantly, especially on the offensive end. Fellow defender Caitlin Roach touched on how Martyniuk was able to contribute offensively against Lindenwood.“We just jumped into the play a lot because we had the chance,” Roach said. “They left the defense open, the forwards moved it up to us and we had chances to get it on net.”Martyniuk has been in the mix since she first came to Syracuse, but Flanagan has been especially impressed with her consistency over the past month.He acknowledged that while it’s nice to get offensive production out of a defender, the coaching staff has been pleased with Martyniuk’s ability to stay composed under pressure as a freshman on the back line.“Back there as a younger player, it’s easy to get a little fumble-itis and lose the puck,” Flanagan said. “It’s good to see she’s managing the puck pretty well.”Martyniuk was given significant ice time since joining the Orange, and for a first-year player fresh out of U-19 hockey, Flanagan has been impressed with how she’s handled the rigor and workload of the college game.As the only freshman on SU’s defense, Martyniuk mentioned that seniors like Roach have been instrumental in telling her what to do and how to improve at the little things.“It’s good to see someone stepping up and playing strong at the blue line,” Roach said. “I just try to talk it through with her and help her with certain things from my experience of playing four years.”In Syracuse’s first two games against RIT in January, Martyniuk registered assists in each.The dual threat will look to do the same this weekend as the Orange looks to secure home ice in the first round of the CHA playoffs next weekend.“We need goals and I know it’s not going to be easy,” Martyniuk said. “A lot of the teams have very good goaltending, so to produce offensively too will help the team win.”“I feel like I’ve improved a lot.” Commentslast_img

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