Syracuse looks to stay healthy as lengthy season comes to a close

first_img Published on February 21, 2018 at 10:41 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34 Midway through the first period of Syracuse’s first exhibition of the season, Taylor Curtis blocked a shot attempt with her hand. For a split second she appeared to wince, but continued playing, unfazed.Later in the game, in the opening minutes of the third period, a Gee-Gees defender checked Ronnie Callahan into the boards. Slow to get up, Callahan carefully skated off the ice. Neither players missed time, but both began their season-long list of ailments.Almost five months later, the Orange (12-18-2, 11-6-1 College Hockey America) is one day away from its final regular season series of the year and one week away from the start of the CHA playoffs. Since playing Ottawa in late September, Syracuse has totaled 342 blocked shots and too many bumps and bruises to count. With its most important stretch of its schedule coming up, SU has adopted a handful of methods to stay healthy during the long season.“Since it’s such a long season we have a lot of strain on our bodies,” freshman defender Kristen Siermachesky said. “But we tend to get to our athletic trainer and we have a lot of help in keeping healthy.”There are many rehab methods players employ to maintain their health following physical games or practices. First, they can choose from taking an ice bath or putting NormaTec boots on their legs. While ice baths use cold temperatures to reduce swelling and the breakdown of tissue, NormaTec boots use compressed air.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe air massages limbs, mobilizes fluid and speeds recovery, according to NormaTec’s website. It helps athletes recover faster between workouts due to the reduction of muscle soreness and the improvement of circulation.Other options for the players to recover and stay loose include foam rolling and stretching with bands, which the players will do with assistant strength and conditioning coach Corey Parker.“We do a lot of treatment,” sophomore defender Logan Hicks said, “and we really focus on the end of the season. We do a lot of recovery.”One of the players’ favorite ways to recover following games are their “flush rides,” which are usually completed on Sunday, their day off. Despite not getting many days off, Siermachesky said, Sunday’s rides are fun as well as necessary for recovery.The rides are usually done on bikes, but the players have “flushed” out their systems beforehand by walking, running or even roller blading. The rides are performed so players’ legs are fresh for Monday practices, instead of staying stiff from the day before. With exercise even on their off day, Siermachesky said, it keeps the lactic acid out of their legs, meaning their muscles won’t tighten up from lack of activity.“It’s good to get outside,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “The biking is a good crossover. Anything from just always being in that seated position, working different muscles, plus I think psychologically it’s pretty good for them as well.”Perhaps the biggest factor this semester for the Orange has been its change in practice time from 4 p.m. in the fall to mornings since the new year. On Mondays and Wednesdays this semester, Syracuse has practice at 8 a.m., while on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s been moved to 10 a.m.Flanagan felt that with the afternoon practice, sometimes his players felt tired or anxious because of school. Flanagan, a self-proclaimed “early riser,” believes the morning practices gives his team some structure for the rest of their day.“I personally love it,” Hicks said. “It’s nice to just get up and have practice and be able to focus on school and homework after. Last year, it was a lot of late nights with having practice so late and then leaving the rink and it’s dark out.”With fewer than 10 practices remaining, Syracuse has pulled back its level of activity in practice. While Tuesday’s early in the season included a lot of skating and other high-intensity drills, Tuesday practices in February have been narrowed down to faceoffs and defensive coverage near SU’s goal.The Orange has cut back on its in-season lifts as well, resorting instead to more stretching, foam rolling and core work off the ice. With a possible upcoming stretch of three games in three days in the CHA tournament, Syracuse is trying to save its best hockey of the year for last.“It is a long haul, and you can only ride that horse so long from September through March,” Flanagan said. “Just to keep some gas in the tank, we have to be able to pace ourselves.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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