By Hunter Kuchenbaur
SYRACUSE, NY – There was no better way to head into Thanksgiving break than sweeping the ESCHL rival University of Rhode Island Rams. While Syracuse [7-10-1] takes a pause until early December, let’s statistically recap the first half of the season for the Orange.
FRAME BY FRAME
Across all levels of hockey, the second period is known as “the period of the long change”. The Orange have taken advantage of opponent’s longer shifts, tired legs, and more difficult line changes by keeping the puck in the offensive zone, creating more scoring chances. Here’s Syracuse’s goal differential by period:
The third period isn’t so great. The Orange need to work on closing out games. In their 7 victories, the Orange have had a positive third-period goal differential in just 2 of those wins, with the bulk of their offense coming in the first and second periods. In their 11 total losses, they’ve had a negative third-period goal differential in 9 of the 11 losses. Before getting back into action, Syracuse will be focusing on how they approach the final frame of hockey while trailing.
One key area of improvement from last season to this season has been the penalty box. Opponents have boasted 251 penalty minutes to Syracuse’s 209. The Orange have cashed in on the power play 12 times this season, while also giving up 12 shorthanded goals. Special teams have been the key to victory for Syracuse. In the Orange’s 7 victories, they have scored 5 power-play goals and have allowed just 2 shorthanded goals. This disciplined team has reaped the benefits of playing clean hockey.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Last year’s departing seniors in Lucas Prestamo, Tim Kalinowski, and Colin Morrow left offensive holes in the lineup needing to be filled by new faces for the 2022-23 campaign. Of the 31 Orangemen who have appeared in a game this season, 21 are freshmen or sophomores. The sophomore dynamic duo of Anthony Larkin and Evan Vassilovski have stepped up big. They each sit at 13 points with 13 games to go on the season, while each had 11 points through the entire 2021-22 season. Vassilovski has already passed his goal total from last year of 4, currently sitting at 6 goals this season. Larkin has defined himself as the team’s playmaker with team-leading 12 assists. Freshmen Isaac Arnold, Jack Wren, and Jack Alecia are all top 10 in points for Syracuse, with Wren being tied for 3rd in goals for the Orange. Sophomore Brock Alvers is also having a breakout season. His five goals are more than double his last season’s goal total of 2. Freshman Connor Chesner has fit right in on the top defensive pair with Mackenzie Murphy. Chesner is 4th in points, with an overtime-winning goal in the first game against URI.
While the inexperience of the Syracuse roster was a concern going into this season, the first-year and second-year players have been crucial to the team’s success. The Orange hit the road to take on the University of Pittsburgh on December 2nd and 3rd at the ALPHA Ice Complex in Pittsburgh.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
Hunter is the head of statistics for Syracuse Hockey, working closely with the broadcast and operations team. As a sports analytics major, he has brought his love and knowledge for analytics and the game of hockey to Syracuse Hockey. This is Hunter's first feature article for Syracuse Hockey.