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A Full Dive Into The 2023-2024 Season for the Syracuse Orange

By Brooke Killgore


Photo Credit: Maria Kaffes (Instagram: @Mariakaffesimages)


SYRACUSE, NY—Even with failing to make the trip to the ESCHL playoffs, the Syracuse Men’s Hockey program experienced a multitude of accomplishments, firsts and lessons to learn. Whether it be playing live on ESPN+ against Liberty in January, or securing their first Top 25 ranking in three years; the team took hard punches and found their stride throughout the season. In turn, upperclassmen solidified their roles while young and new faces broke their way into lineups, some earning their way to a starting line. 


The team had more than 60 players try out early in the fall to make the roster. A combination of 14 first-year players and 19 returners made up the final 33-man squad. Head coach Chris Timmons remarked earlier in the season about the influx of new faces and what it meant for the program.


Decisions were tough, but these decisions come with the realization that prospective players are starting to acknowledge the growth of what we are trying to build here and want to be a part of it.”


Growth was what defined the season for the Orange. After a dominant preseason showcase against Cornell, Syracuse put up 11 points against Robert Morris University—which ended in a series split after an overtime loss in game 1. From there, SU continued a positive trend until it fell 2-5 in mid-October with a series split against Kent State and fell to University of Pittsburgh during Alumni Weekend. 


Syracuse ebbed and flowed with victories against Oswego State, but fell into a dry spell up until the middle of November. After sweeping William Patterson with 15 goals in total, the Orange sat 25th in its first ACHA Top 25 ranking for the first time in three years. Returning in January, the Orange came back to conference play where they fell to URI, Liberty #7, and Niagara #9 the first weekends back which all games played seemed to be a battle. 


The Orange bounced back after the tough three weekends with a dominant non-conference weekend against the RIT Tigers and felt it had the momentum needed to capitalize on its final conference series against Delaware. Unfortunately, the Orange fell to Delaware in two one-goal games at Tennity Ice Pavilion for the season to finalize the campaign. 


Coming in ‘Hutch


It’s no secret that the Dorchester native is one of the highest scorers for Syracuse University in recent years. Last season, Sam Hutchinson totaled 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) in 31 games played. Yet, the captain stole the show and broke his 2023 numbers with 32 points (16 goals and 16 assists) in just 28 games. 


Hutchinson played for schools such as Boston Latin where he produced well over 100+ points during his career. While he only accumulated 67 points in his time as an Orange, the senior has worked hard and proved himself time and time again.


 After working alongside the Orange for the past three years, Hutchinson earned his “A” back in 2022 and has held onto it since. Alongside leading, Hutchinson was a part of a strong, fortified line of junior Brock Alvers and sophomore Jack Alecia. The three forwards led the team with 78 points. 


Hutchinson carried a work ethic that many coaches and teammates credit towards his success. For the senior, he wants to “put his head down and go to work” and never let another person tell him he can’t achieve his goals. It would be hard to deny that his ability to lead and dedication to his craft make him one of the most valuable players to be in the lineup. Whether that be playing in a roller hockey league, competing alongside his teammate Anthony Larkin in a summer collegiate team or being a role model of character and skill for his team, Hutchinson has paved his way within the ranks of SU Hockey. 


While Hutchinson has confirmed he is coming back for one more semester, the senior celebrated his final series of 2023-2024 with his parents, brother, and the whole Syracuse hockey community. After taking a moment to reflect on his time at Tennity before the game, Hutchinson found the back of the net against Delaware. Though it is not his final farewell, Hutchinson scored with an assist from his fellow graduating senior Alex Oakes and the two celebrated together one last time. 


Hutchinson’s last semester at SU is one to look forward to. Whether he hits his 100 point mark, scores another game-winning goal or helps his team find a positive streak, Sam Hutchinson will leave as one of the most valuable players in the program.


“The Kids Are Alright” 


With almost 50% of the team being composed of first-years (most are freshmen but some players are transfers), it’s impossible to not notice their impact throughout the season. 


A young “kid” line composed of Brett Edgren, Evan Applegate, and Matt Mahoney was a force to be reckoned with. In total, the three newcomers totaled 55 points with 22 goals and 33 assists


Brett Edgren finished his first season as an Orange with the team's second-most points (26 points, 11 G, 15 A). The Northborough right-wing beat out junior center Jack Alecia (25) for second in the last series against Delaware, recording a goal and assisting Alecia’s final goal of the season. Edgren played in all 28 regular season contests and produced points in 15 of them.


Evan Applegate also played alongside Edgren as a center and contributed 15 points of his own (two G, 13 A). The freshman scored a power-play goal—the only point for SU—-on the first night of the Ohio University series. 


On the left wing, Matt Mahoney backed up his linemates with five assists and nine goals of his own. The Massachusetts native scored his own game-winning goal in the first game of the RIT series in early February. He also assisted alongside Applegate for an Edgren goal on the same night.


Other first-years made big contributions throughout the season. Forwards Brendan Duffy (14) and defenseman Jake Brown (6) were physically present on the ice and forced other teams to play aggressively. Defenseman Carter Rugg had the most points (11) for a first-year defending the ice. Forward Kade Cook joined his senior brother Tim on his line and even filled in for Alecia during his injury period—playing alongside Hutchinson and Alvers. Defenseman Jacob VonTersch (6) joined the program after two seasons with the USPHL Premier Minnesota Mullets and one season with ACHA DII team Gustavus Adolphus College. 


 “Covering Creases”


Defending the crease takes precision, dedication but most importantly, confidence and focus. That proved to be accurate for the three goaltenders who took to the ice throughout the season.


Sophomore AJ Finta was the starting goaltender for 18 of the 28 games, where he went 6-10-2. After 1,088 minutes of play, the Connecticut native allowed 67 goals, 3.69 GAA, 575 saves off 642 shots, and finished with a .896 SV%. Last season, Finta sat under former goaltender Nikolaos Manousos and only played eight games and went 1-7 with 29 goals allowed, defending 208 saves off 237 shots, with a .878 SV%. 


In turn, junior goaltender Chris Spano took on seven games of his own, finishing with a positive 4-3 record overall. With 400 minutes under his belt, the Yonkers native saved 195 of 225 shots, ending this season with a .871 SV%. In 2023, Spano played eight games, going 1-7 with 29 goals allowed and turning away 208 shots on 237 attempts, for a .878 SV%.


Finally, John Angelino solidified himself as a steady goaltender in his first collegiate season. Taking the ice for the first time against Oswego State, the sophomore defended 31 of 32 shots and recorded a.969 SV% in 60 minutes. Overall, Angelino finished 2-1 after three games with 10 goals allowed and saved 74 of 84 shots alongside a .881 SV% 


Though Orange goaltenders gave up 113 goals throughout their season, it is clear that their numbers and efforts are showing signs of improvement and an upward trend. 


“To the Future”


Overall, the Syracuse Orange finished its 2023-2024 season with a 12-14-2 record, going 2-9-1 in the ESCHL. Out of 72 Division 1 men’s teams, Syracuse finished in 37th place—a jump of 18 spots compared to the 2022-2023 season. That’s a large improvement from last season’s finish of 9-21-1 with a 4-10-0 conference record. In terms of scoring, SU’s lines accumulated 105 goals during 28 matches in contrast to giving up 113 points from opponents. The 2022-2023 Orange only scored 70 points in 31 games while allowing 126 goals into the net.


For Timmons, the 2023-2024 season was a chance for Syracuse to make its mark on the ACHA and the ESCHL. 


“This season I think was just another step for us in the right direction in terms of adding depth and experience to our roster. I think we beat the teams we should have this year, but need to find a way to beat those teams that we may go against as the underdog and steal a few,” Timmons said. 


“I don’t think our record really reflects the success we did have and I’m excited to continue to elevate our program further next year with a big veteran presence with the freshman class [that] we started with… and adding some depth pieces with incoming freshman through the recruiting process.”


The Syracuse Orange may have hung up its skates but will return in the fall of 2024 in a quest to make a larger dent in its conference.


THANK YOU


The Syracuse men’s hockey media staff would like to thank the players, coaches and most importantly, the fans for their utmost dedication. We work to provide every person in our community with the most timely, accurate and high quality products through broadcasting, photography, stats, social media and beat writing. Your dedication and commitment to our team and program are of the utmost importance, thank you for sticking with us in our coverage of all 28 games. We can’t wait to get back to it next season.


Contact me:

X: @BKillgore13



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