By Kevin Dorr
#35, Goalie, Cal Stewart
Syracuse, NY --The Syracuse Orange (2-4-0) are preparing for a weekend matchup against the University of Delaware Blue Hens (4-3-1). The Orange, who are winless in games played, will look to string together three strong periods each night - something they have yet to do.
The Orange have struggled with consistency in their first four games. It is not hard to see the talent and skill that this young team has. Syracuse has been able to dominate shifts each game which shows that they are capable of playing better.
Freshman Anthony Larkin is looking to add more consistency to his game.
“We’ve shown flashes of being dominant and then some shifts we’ve been outplayed,” said the forward. “One thing I’m constantly reminding myself is just do one thing positive every shift. A positive thing every shift eventually leads to more consistency.”
Larkin, who scored twice in the second game against NYU, should be a key offensive player going forward.
Last weekend was a learning experience for many of the players, as they had their first ACHA road series. At the end of the day, a hockey game is just a hockey game. But, the ACHA is different than any other league where Syracuse players had played previously.
Defenseman J.D. Florio has learned how serious the league is with the mix of physicality and skill.
“I’ve learned from league games that the teams we play are no joke,” said the freshman. “Coming into the season and not hearing much about the ACHA I wasn’t sure what to expect but after playing four games it’s clear that every team is good, and we can’t take any team lightly.”
Luckily, with the team's strong leadership, rookies could look to the older guys for guidance. Larkin was able to learn from veterans how to prepare for an away series.
“One thing I really took away from the weekend was the preparation the older guys showed for the games. They treated it like it was a business trip and they really set a good example of how to prepare for life on the road.”
Both Larkin and Florio will apply what they have learned to this upcoming series in Delaware, another long road trip.
Since the series against Stony Brook, the Orange have improved in many areas, including on the power play, breaking the puck out, and the forecheck. Against NYU, the Orange went 3 for 11 on the power play (27%), which is an improvement compared to the series against Stony Brook where they went 1 for 17 (6%).
The defense has been working on making a good first pass to get out of the zone quickly. Defensive zone turnovers have been costly to the Orange. Limiting those will be key. Also, the Orange have not possessed the puck enough in the offensive zone, they will work on that this weekend.
Florio is seeing the power play starting to click as the season progresses.
“Last game we were able to get the powerplay going and have some success with that so hopefully we can continue to move the puck well and create more scoring opportunities.”
Going forward, the Orange must capitalize on man-advantage opportunities to account for a lack of even-strength goals. To earn their first win of the season, Syracuse will also need to come out flying and compete for three full periods.
Junior Mackenzie Murphy understands the value of consistency in a full game.
“It’s going to take a full 60-minute effort to beat Delaware,” said the captain. “That’s something we have not done this year, but I’m confident if we do we’ll get the results we’re looking for.”
Game one of the series will be Saturday, October 23, with puck drop at 9:30 p.m., followed by game two on Sunday, October 24 at 3:45 p.m. A link to view the game live can be found here.
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