By Ryan Nelson
Syracuse, N.Y. -- The Syracuse Orange (1-4-1) started off their fourth-straight road series down in Newark, Delaware, as they faced off against the Delaware Blue Hens (6-6-0) on Friday, November 1. The Orange fell to the Blue Hens by a final score of 4-2, extending Syracuse’s losing streak to five straight.
“We wanted to play with speed on the Olympic sized ice sheet and play a disciplined speed game,” said alternate captain Ford Hatchett on the team’s plan for the game.
The Orange did not let the travel or the ice slow them down to start the game. Just over a minute into the first period, the Orange were already hunting for the back of the net.
Defenseman Matt Jacobs threw a strong shot on net, and two crossing Orange players made a joint effort to get their team on the board early; one screened Blue Hen goalie Christopher Ponticello, while the other, Chris Brunner-Grande, got his stick on the ice and tipped it past the netminder to put Syracuse on top 1-0.
The rest of the first period showed that these two chippy teams started right where they left off. Two penalties were incurred on either side, but nothing came of the power plays.
The period was not without its chances, though, as the Orange and Blue Hens exchanged scoring chances to no avail.
The second period continued much of the same. Ponticello was a brick wall in net, stopping several scoring chances by the Orange. Similarly, Syracuse’s Eric Parker showcased his skill, weathering the storm of shots thrown at him by the Blue Hens attack.
Delaware would eventually break through when Orange defense got caught up in the offensive zone, allowing a three-on-zero breakaway. The Blue Hens made sure to capitalize on this chance to tie the game up at 1-1.
The offense would not cease there. Five minutes into the third period, a Blue Hen defenseman shot a rocket that ricocheted off the iron and into the crease. On the doorstep was Chris Mazzella, who shoved it past the Orange goaltender to give Delaware a 2-1 lead.
Physicality remained high throughout the rest of the period and the game as each team exchanged bone-crushing hits and took turns going in and out of the penalty box.
In the final ten minutes, Syracuse defenseman Ford Hatchett fed Patrick Major, who made a smooth backhand-to-forehand move for his first collegiate goal.
“Great to get the monkey off my back,” said Major. “Looking to continue to build on it.”
As the night continued on, Eric Parker soaked up many more shots as the Blue Hens peppered him incessantly. They finally broke through in the final three minutes with a net-front tap-in and an empty netter that sealed the victory for Delaware.
“I think the difference was they scored a pair of power-play goals in the third and our [power play] didn’t execute. We took three third-period penalties. Two in the offensive zone and then I take a late slashing call,” Hatchett said after the game.
The Orange look to rebound tomorrow night as they, again, are down in Delaware to take on the Blue Hens. Fans can tune in at 5:25 p.m. at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHjvSsWdimS_emftDV4lK5Q.
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