Ice Hockey

Freshman Savannah Rennie sees early success despite position change

Savannah Rennie was in the perfect spot, hugging the right post.

A shot found its way through traffic and was kicked away by the Northeastern goalie. It went directly to Rennie. She settled the puck that was on its side and lifted it into the net for her first collegiate goal.

It’s a goal Rennie would not have scored if she had not transitioned from center to winger.

After playing center for her entire career, Rennie is now a staple on the right wing for Syracuse (2-5-3, 2-1-1 College Hockey America). Ten games into her career, she has offered glimpses into her scoring ability while adjusting to playing more in the defensive third than she was used to. Rennie scored two goals and tallied one assist, putting her second on the team in goals and tied for sixth in points.

“I think that’s what we needed,” Stephanie Grossi said of Rennie and freshman Kelli Rowswell. “We lost (Melissa) Piacentini and (Nicole) Ferrara so we needed people to come in and fill that role and I think both of them have done a good job of putting up numbers.”

When Rennie played at center, she was in on every attack and was able to move all around the ice, using her vision and speed. Now a winger, the responsibilities have changed.

Coaches emphasize playing two ways more. Rennie works more on playing faster along the boards, breaking into the offensive zone, chipping pucks out of the defensive zone and blocking shots.

She tallied her second career goal against Lindenwood on Oct. 28. Grossi, a center, won a battle for the puck along the boards and carried it to the slot, directing the offense. As Lady Lions defenders scrambled to get between Grossi and the net, she slid the puck back to her right where Rennie was standing in the right faceoff circle. Before the goalie could slide over, Rennie fired a goal.

“It’s definitely been different,” Rennie said, “you see the ice in a different view and it’s been a lot of adapting. … I’d say it’s still a work in progress, but it’s definitely going along.”

Despite the early success, Rennie hasn’t escaped some struggles. Rennie said she misses her old position. However, she likes being able to contribute on both ends of the ice.

“I miss my freedom to go wherever I want basically.” Rennie said. “I kind of miss going down to help out lower in the d-zone and being able to break out, but wing is treating me well so far.”

Rennie is “crafty” and sees the ice well, head coach Paul Flanagan said, which is “probably why she played in the middle.” Even though Rennie has had to adjust, the SU head coach has been pleased with Rennie’s production early in the season.

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