By Owen Sienko
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse Orange (2-7-1) broke their seven-game losing streak on Saturday, November 9, with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Drexel Dragons (10-1-3).
While Drexel relied on neat passing and playmaking early in the first period, the Orange adopted a “pucks-on-net” style of play. That approach paid off 3:26 into the period when forward Connor Preston cleaned up a rebound out front after a shot by forward Lucas Prestamo.
“We have a rink here today because of those guys, we have a team here today because of those guys, and it’s an honor to just kind of see those different generations come back,” Hatchett said of the Hall of Fame inductees.
Saturday’s game was also a special one for Syracuse captain Peter-Owen Hayward, who skated in the 100th game of his career.
“He’s the hardest-working guy on our team. When he’s working that hard, the rest of the team follows,” Head Coach Connor Treacy said of Hayward’s role on the team.
While Drexel relied on neat passing and playmaking early in the first period, the Orange adopted a “pucks-on-net” style of play. That approach paid off 3:26 into the period, when forward Connor Preston cleaned up a rebound out front after a shot by forward Lucas Prestamo.
The Dragons struck back midway through the period when forward Christopher Hagen intercepted a pass at the point and fed Nick Castura, who sniped it past Parker’s pad.
Drexel dominated puck possession in the second period, launching ten shots on net in the first five minutes and 26 shots by the second intermission.
It only took 42 seconds for the Dragons to get on the board in the period. Defenseman Mike Churchvara fired a shot from the slot that Parker was able to get a piece of, but the puck arched over him and bounced into the back of the net.
Drexel doubled their lead to 3-1 about 3:30 later when Patrick McGinley forced his way into the slot, received a clean saucer pass from Hagen, and snapped it past Parker.
The Orange struck back with 8:37 remaining in the period to cut the Drexel lead in half. Junior defenseman Ford Hatchett fired a shot from the point, producing a loose puck out front. Fellow alternate captain Luke Caddo worked hard in the ensuing net-front scramble and managed to jam it past Drexel goaltender Jeremy Wik to make it 3-2.
The high-octane play from the second period did not carry over into the uneventful third. Syracuse managed to hold Drexel to just one shot on goal in the first ten minutes while taking only two of their own.
With just under three minutes left in regulation, Syracuse tied the game 3-3 when Hatchett slid a pass to Hayward at the top of the hash marks. Hayward quickly turned a shot on net that went unseen by Wik thanks to a screen by Lucas Prestamo.
A Drexel game misconduct in the final two minutes of regulation gave Syracuse about four minutes of power-play time in overtime, but the Orange were unable to convert.
A scoreless overtime meant a shootout was forthcoming. Junior forward Matt Jacobs shot first, moving in on goal slowly and depositing the puck through the five hole.
After a series of unsuccessful shot attempts, the game rested on the shoulders of Drexel’s Mike Churchvara. He approached the net with speed and attempted to sneak the puck around Parker, but the senior goaltender was not fooled. By the time he clinched the 4-3 victory for his team, Parker had made 37 saves on 40 shots.
“It’s a huge win off our shoulders. The boys have been working really hard and we’ve been so close to it, so it’s definitely good to do it in a shootout,” he said after the game.
The Orange will return to the Tennity Ice Pavilion on Friday, November 15, to host an ESCHL rival in the Stony Brook Seawolves.
“This team’s gotta continue to get better. We have a lot to work on. Practice this week is going to be very important,” Coach Treacy said, looking ahead to the matchup.
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