By Stephen Sklar
Photo Credit: Dev Freeman
SYRACUSE, NY – Syracuse (8-15-1) has struggled since returning from a 41-day winter recess. In four contests, the Orange are 1-3-0, highlighted by a disappointing sweep at the hands of Robert Morris last weekend. SU only has one game to play this weekend, against a Canisius (8-9-1) team that can be beaten.
The pressure is a little bit different knowing that only a contest decides the outcome of an entire weekend. On a back-to-back, there’s always tomorrow if you lose the first game. But, the Orange only have one crack at the Golden Griffins.
SU should be especially motivated after coming so close in both games against Robert Morris. In the Friday game at Tennity Ice Pavilion, Syracuse held a one-goal advantage for most of the third period. The tying goal came with the Orange on the penalty kill and then the kill shot came inside the final minute of regulations.
Coming off of the close loss, Head Coach Timmons left the lineup essentially untouched from the previous night.
“I think we were able to possess the puck well, generate scoring chances, and all around were the better team, but we couldn’t score,” according to head coach Timmons.
Another positive to come out of the first half of the series was Sean Caddo’s goal in the second period: the first of his collegiate career.
As far as the second game was concerned, the Colonials controlled the scoreboard for the majority of the game scoring 10 minutes into the opening period and never looking back. Again, Syracuse outshot the Colonials but RMU's Kevin Mackey stood tall in net compiling 44 saves throughout the afternoon. Robert Morris would go on to win 3-2.
Canisius is not the same caliber team, however, they have beaten some teams in the past that Syracuse is winless against. For example, the Golden Griffins stole a game from the Colonials back in late September.
That’s mainly due to the well-balanced offensive attack it has led by its top two point-getters, Kyle Neudorf and Brendan Reid. They can both score at a high clip, but the thing they do best is distributing the puck. They both average almost 1.5 points per game.
The Golden Griffins do have a weakness though: penalties. They are one of the most penalized teams in all of the ACHA, which could offer Syracuse a lot of scoring chances on the man-up. Whether or not the Orange are able to capitalize, will be decided Saturday at 10:15 PM.