By Kevin Dorr
Photo by Jacob Halsema (@jacobhalsema)
Syracuse, NY– The Syracuse Orange (9-19-1) were swept by the Delaware Blue Hens (15-15-1) this past weekend, eliminating the Orange from playoff contention. Despite the losses, the Orange were resilient.
In Saturday’s senior night game, the Orange came out strong in the first period. Syracuse took the lead 1:04 in, courtesy of a Jack Alecia goal. Forward Sam Hutchinson and d-man Connor Chesner led the rush before firing a shot on the Delaware netminder. A trailing Alecia slotted home the rebound for his 6th goal of the season.
The Orange added to their lead just under 7 minutes into the game. Freshman Isaac Arnold forced a turnover on the forecheck and slid the puck to Max Gargurevich, who slipped the puck into the back of the Delaware net for his first of the year. A packed crowd and the Syracuse University Pep Band helped the Orange celebrate the early goals.
The atmosphere at the Tennity Ice Pavilion was electric, according to Gargurevich.
“It was great having so many people at the game Saturday night,” said the forward. “There was a lot of energy in the building and that helped us come out hot”.
Delaware quieted the rink after scoring with 3:57 left in the first, and again on the power play with 0:00.4 showing on the clock.
The Blue Hens took the lead with 12:24 left in the second period and made it 4-2 just 17 seconds later. Goalie Jordan Edelstein made big saves to keep the game close, but the Blue Hens found ways to beat him.
Senior Matthew Zarb praised Edelstein for his timely saves to keep the Orange in the game.
“Jordan made some huge saves that were important for keeping the game close,” said the defenseman. “It’s great to see that out of a veteran leader and it gives the team a surge of energy”.
Delaware added to their lead with a power play goal in the third, but Jared Topf answered with his own. Topf took control of the puck in the high slot and fired one into the back of the net. In the third, the Orange had their chances but weren’t able to capitalize on them. They dropped game one by a score of 5-3.
Saturday’s game did not count toward the ESCHL standings. There are 8 teams in the ESCHL and each team plays each other a minimum of 2 times. Syracuse was scheduled to play Drexel, Delaware, and Rhode Island 4 times this year. To ensure an even number of games were played between all teams, only 2 games against each team are counted. So, for the Drexel, Delaware, and Rhode Island series, only the second game of each series was slated to count toward conference play.
The Orange found themselves down 5-0 late in the second period in game two. With their backs against the wall, the Orange fought back but ultimately came up short. Despite the score, nobody on the team showed signs of quitting according to Gargurevich.
“We knew we had an uphill battle and not one person had their head down,” noted the sophomore. “I think that just shows the type of locker room we have. We fell short in the end but I’m sure we gave Delaware a scare when we brought it within two goals”.
Anthony Larkin and Jack Wren scored late in the second period to make it 5-2. Wren added another early in the third, bringing the Orange within two. However, Delaware put the dagger in Syracuse’s season with their 6th goal with under 4 minutes to play. They tacked on an empty netter to finish off the Orange. Despite outshooting Delaware 37-30, the Orange dropped game two 7-3 and were eliminated from ESCHL postseason contention.
Syracuse travels to Kingston, RI to take on URI this weekend. The Orange swept URI back in November, so look for this to be a good series of hockey.
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