Published on March 16, 2019 at 5:41 pm Contact Danny: [email protected] | @DannyEmerman Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ For the last time in a Syracuse uniform, Allie Munroe skated through the postgame handshake line. For the last time, the senior defenseman embraced her teammates. Earlier in the season, Munroe directed the team to refocus on their core values amid a program-record 10-game losing streak. The Orange responded and entered the CHA tournament with ten total wins, all of which came within the conference. They built off that and won the College Hockey America championship for the first time in program history last week.But in the opening round of the 2019 NC Women’s Ice Hockey Championship on Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin, Syracuse’s defense could not prevent the faster, more-talented Badgers, as three of Wisconsin’s four goals came with Munroe on bench. With its relentless, high-octane offense, No. 1 Wisconsin (32-4-2, 18-4-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) beat Syracuse (13-21-3, 10-8-2 College Hockey America) 4-1 to end the Orange’s historic season. “Our seniors,” head coach Paul Flanagan said, “their legacy is the CHA championship we won last week. They got us here.”Earlier in the season, Wisconsin beat Syracuse twice, 6-1 and 9-1. Even though Munroe and goalie Ady Cohen (career-high 43 saves) held the Badgers to four goals, SU’s offense couldn’t generate enough chances. Syracuse only recorded 15 shots to Wisconsin’s 47. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMunroe, who finished her SU career second in all-time points by a defenseman (71), brought Syracuse to its first NCAA tournament by leading the team in points (27), solidifying a defensive unit plagued by injuries, and helping SU upset RMU and Mercyhurst in the conference tournament to earn an automatic bid to the national tournament.In the first period on Saturday, SU’s defense held strong, even as the Badgers controlled possession. For the first three minutes of the game, Syracuse struggled to clear the puck and didn’t complete one pass in Wisconsin’s zone. The Badgers outshot the Orange 14 to four in the first period, but the score remained even. “I thought, for a while there, we battled hard,” Flanagan said. Syracuse was still able to create scoring chances. With about a minute left in the period, Cohen extended for a stick save and sent the rebound to the blue line, right to forward Abby Moloughney. With a step on Wisconsin’s defenders, Moloughney took the breakaway, but couldn’t convert on a backhanded wrist shot as she careened into the net.“I thought we had three or four grade-A chances in the first,” Flanagan said, “and it would’ve been a different ballgame had we popped one.”While SU’s defense produced a stalemate in the first period, Wisconsin’s relentless offense broke through in the second. The Badgers’ leading scorer, redshirt senior Annie Pankowski, beat Cohen twice on wrist shots, one from each circle. Syracuse’s defense made very few mistakes in the game, but Wisconsin capitalized on each one. But as the second period progressed, Syracuse’s energy waned, Flanagan said. Skaters fought for each loose puck and dove in front of shots, flying around their defensive zone for minutes at a time. On one play in the third period, Munroe dove to block one of Wisconsin’s 47 shots, and kept it trapped under her body as two Wisconsin forwards thrashed their sticks, trying to jar it loose. Munroe led the team in blocks on the season (72), but the constant pressure and aggression from Wisconsin overpowered SU on Saturday in the form of two goals in the second and third periods. “We knew we had to work hard to beat a team like this,” Flanagan said. “We knew we had to do all the little things right: getting the pucks out and win the battles. We all believed we could do it.”Before last week’s semifinal game against Mercyhurst, SU adopted a defensive mentality of sacrificing bodies for blocked shots and focusing on clearing pucks under pressure, a mentality Munroe embodied, Flanagan said. He called the approach “desperate.” Later in the third, redshirt senior Lindsay Eastwood turned the puck over deep in the defensive zone, which led to a wraparound goal from Abby Roque to make it 3-0. Munroe could only watch from the bench again. Six minutes later, Presley Norby put Wisconsin up 4-0 by sneaking into the slot and firing a wrist shot. It was the only goal Munroe was on the ice for, and it was the last goal Munroe would see in her college career.“I’m so proud of this team and everything that we did. Especially to keep it so close for so long,” Munroe said.