Updated: Oct 27
By Kevin Dorr
North-Central New York– The Syracuse Orange (3-6-1) are set to take on the Oswego State Lakers (6-2-1) in a home-and-home series later this week. The Orange will travel north on Thursday night and come back to the Tennity Ice Pavilion for a Friday night showdown.
Last year, Sam Hutchinson’s shootout winner lifted the Orange over the Lakers, giving the team their first win of the season. This year, the Orange have played much better in the months of September and October.
The Orange have played close in all games but one this season. They have been able to string together periods of good, mistake-free hockey.
However, winning the first game of each weekend has been a challenge for Syracuse. All 7 points have come from games in the back half of a series. The Orange have been able to bear down after a loss, but coming into the weekend ready to play for the first game is the next step.
Defenseman Lucas Skolnick explained the keys to the first game.
“It comes down to our preparation and urgency leading up to the game,” said the sophomore. “We need to be setting the tempo for the weekend instead of waiting for our opponents to set it”.
This Orange squad is capable of battling against any team, we’ve seen that so far in this young season. They’ve improved in many areas since last year, especially in the defensive zone. Breakouts have been cleaner, decisions have been better, and turnovers have been limited.
Consistent efforts from defensemen have been the difference between wins and losses. Last Saturday, Orange defensemen did a good job of taking away the time and space of Buffalo forwards.
Sophomore Timofei Kouzimine described the importance of pressure from Orange defensemen.
“We did a good job of battling down low,” said the defenseman. “We tired them out and were able to draw penalties from that.”
Speaking of penalties, special teams have been an asset for the Orange. Syracuse scored both a power play and a shorthanded goal in their win against Buffalo. Special teams have the ability to be the difference in a close game, and for the Orange that turned out to be the case against Buffalo.
Tim Cook, Saturday’s power play goal scorer, explained the formula for power play success.
“We decided to shoot more,” noted Cook. “The more shots we took the better a chance for a goal or rebound.”
In this non-conference matchup, the Orange must come ready to play if they want all 4 points. From the drop of the puck on Thursday until the final buzzer on Friday, the Orange have to battle.
Thursday’s game will be in Oswego at 8:30 and you can catch Friday’s contest here at 7 PM as Syracuse returns to the Tennity Ice Pavilion for their Pink The Rink Fundraiser. You can donate to the Orange’s fundraise at http://www.info-komen.org/goto/sumh-pinktherink
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