By Zoe Jurmann
Syracuse, NY– The Syracuse Orange (4-9-1) split the weekend series with the New York University Violets (4-5-1) in a gritty defensive matchup.
After falling 4-2 on Saturday night, the Orange came into Sunday’s matinee ready to show the over 150 alumni in attendance that they can win, and were able to pull out all of the stops to beat the Violets 2-1.
Goaltender Nik Manousos, who had been struggling as of late, was between the pipes for Sunday’s game. Coach Chris Timmons believes that the senior’s struggles are not his own, but rather those of the team. The team as a whole has been shaky and lackluster during game ones, giving the goaltender little to no support during play.
“Manny has been getting our first game of the weekend so far this season which the team has not been able to put together a good effort in front of him and I felt that he deserved to get the better half of our weekend. I think he played well and made the saves he needed to in order to get us the win,” said the head coach.
The Orange have also been struggling with maintaining leads, and winning those close gritty games. During Saturday’s game, the team quickly let NYU get away from them, with the Violets scoring four quick goals early in the game. The Orange strove for a late comeback, scoring two goals late into the third period, but were ultimately unable to force a full comeback.
Finally able to overcome the hurdle of holding onto a lead in tight games, the Orange dominated play on Sunday, even after giving up a late goal.
Manousos is proud of not only the team, but himself, as they have finally been rewarded for their hard work in practice and on the ice.
“It feels fantastic. I'm so proud of everybody and how they played. Everyone put it all out there today. What we get away from in those tight games that we end up losing is we tend to get away from our systems you get running around a bit, but we stuck to the process,” exclaimed the senior. “ we worked really hard in practice all week on our systems, and we stuck to those and I think that's why we got it done today. We just didn't leave our system and we didn't run around.”
Timmons also notes that the team was able to keep their feet under them for a whole 60 minutes of play. They kept their game simple and were rewarded with a win.
“At times we are too focused on being in a space and being reactive which results in us puck watching. We need to be proactive rather than reactive so that we are driving the play and forcing them to make the predictable play. The game comes easier to us when we dictate it and that’s a lesson we need to continue to learn as we progress here,” explained Timmons.
Sophomore Lucas Skolnick noted that improvement comes with practice. With only a handful of series left in the season, the team is focused on improving and pulling out a few more wins before the end of the season.
“I think we just need to focus a little harder on the small details in practice and just keep working hard and competing a little harder each day. As for translating the work, we do in practice into the game we just need to come out with more fire and urgency instead of falling behind early and trying to claw our way back into the game.”
While loses are obviously not the goal of the Orange, animosity will naturally bring a team together. Manousos believes that while the season has been a tough one, with loses and consistent injuries to key players, the team has only come out stronger as a whole.
“I think that going through adversity in anything obviously makes people come together. And it's been a tough season for us. I mean, we've lost a lot of close games. We've been off and kind of blue at the end,” said the Senior. “I think going through those tough times together has really helped our group get close and you know, finally getting it done is that much more special.”
The Orange are on the road next weekend, as they take on not one but two different ACHA matchups over the weekend. They first face Villanova at Hatfield Arena on Friday November 11th at 8:45pm. Then down in New Jersey at they take on The College of New Jersey on Saturday at 12pm.