By Isabella Apple
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse Orange (14-13-3) kicked off their final series of the regular season Friday against the Delaware Blue Hens (20-10-2). The Orange were led by senior Matt Jacobs’ four-point night.
The Blue Hens got early pressure on the Orange through the first few minutes of the period. Delaware was able to draw a hooking call on Lucas Prestamo to go on the powerplay, but Syracuse’s penalty killers did their job clearing the zone often.
As Prestamo was released from the box, freshman starter Mackenzie Murphy sent a shot from the point and senior Alex Aguirre tipped the puck past Delaware’s net-minder, giving the Orange the fast start they needed.
Just under three minutes later, the Orange were lighting the lamp again. Hayward, who’s chasing his 200th career point drew within four of the milestone as he received a centering pass from center Matt Jacobs in front of the net and fired it top right to give Syracuse the 2-0 lead.
Hayward credits his teammates for getting the puck in the right spot for him to score.
“Tim [Kalinowski] did a great job winning a battle on the forecheck and slipping a quick pass out to me, I saw Matt [Jacobs] down on the goal line and fed a pass to him and just went to the back post for a give and go and Matt made a nice little cheeky saucer pass and I had a wide-open net,” said the captain.
The Orange were flying around the ice for the majority if the first period and were rewarded with the early lead. Syracuse’s starting goalie, Cal Stewart held his own against six quality Delaware shots and remained a perfect 6-for-6 going into the first intermission.
Up 2-0 the Orange left for the first intermission hoping to keep the pace and energy up throughout the remaining 40 minutes of play.
The Blue Hens came out of the locker room for the second swinging, throwing everything on net. Stewart stood tall between the pipes for the first four minutes while Delaware held consistent zone pressure, preserving the Orange’s 2-0 lead.
With Luke Caddo in the box for tripping, senior Matt Jacobs intercepted Delaware’s cross-ice pass short-handed and squeezes the puck between the goaltender and the left post to give Syracuse a commanding 3-0 lead.
Delaware would respond. With over a minute of the man-advantage to deal with, the Blue Hens found a rebound in front of the net and slipped a backhand shot 5-hole past Stewart. Just a few minutes later, Delaware once again found a generous rebound in front of the net and was able to tuck the puck in behind Stewart’s outstretched legs.
With just over two minutes remaining in the second period, junior Ford Hatchett was called for cross-checking, putting the Blue Hens back on the powerplay. To preserve their one-goal lead going into the final intermission, the Syracuse penalty killers had to get between passing lanes and block shots.
The Orange entered the second intermission up 23-17 in shots, and 3-2 on the scoreboard.
The third period had an intense start. Within the opening three minutes, three goals were scored. First, the Blue Hens were able to tie the game at 3-3, but Jacobs the next shift answered for the Orange and gave them back their lead. The Blue Hens wouldn’t cower, going out on their next shift and netting the fourth goal of their own, leaving the game tied 4-4.
After Delaware turned the puck over, defenseman Luke Caddo found Jacobs and he was able to snipe the puck past the goaltender for the hat trick and to put Syracuse up 5-4.
The senior said it was special to have such a huge night in front of his family, who are in town for senior night.
“I looked the goalie off and caught him leaning the wrong way and it was a big goal [for us]. It was awesome doing it all in front of my parents. They’ve been great to me over my career so that made it even better than they were here,” said Jacobs.
Delaware and Syracuse continued to exchange chances, the Blue Hens’ pressing to get the equalizer before time expired. As time ticked off the clock, Syracuse was once again rewarded for their effort in the offensive zone as Hayward netted his second of the night, doing snow angels on the ice afterward. The insurance goal was all Syracuse would need to close out the game 6-4.
Syracuse would beat Delaware by a final score of 6-4, lead by their star forwards Peter-Owen Hayward and Matt Jacobs as they and five others began their Tennity farewell tour as their senior season comes to a close.
Sophomore forward Tim Kalinowski, who shares a line with Hayward and Jacobs’ said the emotions will be running high tomorrow.
“I’m gonna be pretty sad,” said Kalinowski. “I’m really gonna miss these guys some of them are my best friends. I owe them a lot. [Tomorrow], we have to be relentless for them.”
The Orange will be back on home ice for the final time this season tomorrow, Saturday, March 1st, to finish the series against the Delaware Blue Hens when the puck drops at 2 pm.
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