By Luke Burgess
Photo Credit: Maria Kaffes (Instagram: @Mariakaffesimages)
Syracuse, NY – Syracuse returns to Tennity Ice Pavilion in a very different spot from when it left. The Orange were losers of four straight on the road against Ohio and Stony Brook.
Not only were the losses momentum killers, but many were blowouts. SU was outscored 28-10 over the two weekends. Sophomore Defenseman Sean Caddo remarked on how difficult playing against the older competition was. Both Stony Brook and Ohio are made up of largely upperclassmen.
Now, the Orange return to the 315 for their final two chances to win a conference game before the semester comes to a close. If they want to do that, they’ll need to exploit a Drexel team in transition.
The Dragons’ offense begins with Forward Nick Castura. Castura had missed four straight games prior to the Dragons' last matchup but registered an assist in his return to the ice. He also tallied up 14 penalty minutes in the return. The Dragons fell 6-2 to Oswego State without the help of their main point producer for almost an entire period.
There are also concerns on the backend for the Cuse. Defenseman Ben Birkhahn quarterbacks the Dragon Powerplay incredibly effectively. The Irvington, New York native has 11 assists so far this season, averaging almost a point per game.
As far as the Orange struggling against older competition, that won’t change this weekend. Drexel returns a majority of the roster that SU snatched just one win from in four tries last season. With four seniors and over half of the 24-man roster of Juniors, it’ll be important for the Cuse to grow up quickly and pick up a win in November.
One consistent form of production for Syracuse has been the Freshman class. Last week, forward Kade Cook got his first shot at hitting the ice with his older brother Tim Cook, a senior and alternate captain for the Orange.
“It felt great to finally put on the Syracuse sweater.” the younger Cook said. The Freshman is expected to suit up again this weekend for his first home games and a chance at his first point in Orange.
Although many players on the Syracuse team remarked how they were excited for the challenge of playing a much more difficult schedule this year, there is no doubt that the players are looking forward to the opportunity to play a Drexel team that has almost mirrored SU’s season.
Although the Dragons started their season with two straight wins, they have struggled to jump above the .500 mark. Similar to ‘Cuse, they have also battled injuries to key players while taking on some of the tougher teams in their schedule.
This weekend, the puck drop for games is 8 PM for Saturday’s matchup and 2 PM on Sunday. On Saturday, the Orange celebrates Military Appreciation Night. SU will take the ice in special digital camo jerseys to commemorate the evening. Sunday’s contest for SU marks its fourth straight ESCHL game. Both games and every other game this season, can be found on the SU Hockey Network for expansive coverage of each home and road series.