Nicole Ferrara looks to continue scoring streak for Syracuse after rebounding from injury

first_imgAs Nicole Ferrara glided in front of the crease, her skate got caught at the wrong angle in the ice. Her foot went one way, while her body went another. It was Syracuse’s second practice back since holiday break two seasons ago, and the outlook of her career took a turn for the worse.“She never goes down, so I knew something was wrong,” teammate Melissa Piacentini said.Ferrara immediately realized what had happened. She tore her ACL in her left knee during a game in her junior year of high school at Rivers Academy. It was the exact same feeling she felt in the moment.Her season was over. Two ACL tears in the same knee could have put her hockey career in jeopardy.“I knew what to expect,” Ferrara said. “I knew all the stuff I’d have to do to get back.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn 2015, Ferrara has come back as the team’s top goal-scorer. She has scored a goal in SU’s last five games, the latest coming in a 7-1 rout over Rochester Institute of Technology on Wednesday night.She’ll have a chance to continue her streak when Syracuse (3-3, 1-0 College Hockey America) travels to St. Lawrence (2-5-1) on Saturday at 4 p.m.“I wouldn’t say she’s in midseason form, but she’s played pretty close to it,” Syracuse head coach Paul Flanagan said. “It’s been a great shot in the arm for us to have her back.”The Orange has been without one of its top offensive weapons for a season and a half. Ferrara redshirted her junior year to fully recover. She wasn’t able to skate for six months, a skill she picked up as a three-year-old.Doctors slowed down her recovery process to reduce pressure on her left knee, which forced Ferrara to become even more patient. In therapy, physical trainers would work on strengthening Ferrara’s quads in her left leg.With patience and the right therapy, Ferrara knew she’d get back on the ice. On October 6, she returned as part of Syracuse’s starting lineup in its home opener against Clarkson.“When you don’t play for a while,” Ferrara said, “it definitely makes you realize how lucky you are to be able to skate and to be able to play.”While most lose speed after ACL tears, Ferrara retained her quickness. She caught UConn goalie Annie Belanger off guard last Saturday by sneaking up behind her and putting a rebound in the net before Belanger even noticed her presence.Against Providence on Sunday, Piacentini sent Ferrara a pass from the corner. Ferrara quickly opened up toward the net and fired, scoring her fourth goal of the season.She went on a breakaway in the second period against RIT on Wednesday, beating the goalie in a one-on-one with a backhanded shot that found the top of the net.Flanagan thinks Ferrara is the perfect third piece in the first line because she can keep up with Piacentini and Stephanie Grossi’s quick movements.“They’re very fast players. [Ferrara] can step in there and play with them,” Flanagan said. “Those three seem to feed really well off one another.”The Orange’s stagnant offensive issues from last season have mainly subsided due to Ferrara’s presence on the attack. SU averages 3.7 goals per game so far, a much better average compared to its 2.5 goals per game last season.The team had its highest scoring total against RIT on Wednesday night since Jan. 19, 2013, when SU scored eight goals against Lindenwood, a game that Ferrara scored in as well.Flanagan hopes his senior captain can keep her streak going on Saturday. But he’s happy to have her back, no matter how strong her performance is.“We missed her for a year and a half,” Flanagan said. “She just has real good hockey instincts. She’s bounced back really well.” Comments Published on October 24, 2015 at 10:33 am Contact Chris: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more