Updated: Feb 18
By Isabella Apple
SYRACUSE N.Y. -- The Syracuse Orange (10-10-3) knocked off the Rhode Island Rams (15-12-1) 6-2 last night to gain an important two points in the ESCHL standings. Senior netminder Eric Parker made his first start of 2020 for Syracuse after returning from a lower-body injury.
The Orange came out firing as sophomore Tim Kalinowski opened up the scoring just 50 seconds into the first period, giving Syracuse a 1-0 lead. As the teams exchanged power plays, Parker stood tall in net to hang on to the one-goal lead while the Orange got their sticks firing.
After the Rams were called for boarding rookie defenseman Austin Ricker, the Orange went back on the power play. Senior defenseman Jacob Patalino continued to make his presence known in his return to the team by scoring on the power play off an assist from captain Peter-Owen Hayward.
With the ice tilted in the Orange’s favor as the first period neared an end, Rhode Island managed to level the playing field by slipping a puck through traffic with 3:17 remaining, then striking again to even the score with just 17 seconds on the clock.
Despite having a two-goal lead early in the first, the Orange left the ice deadlocked at 2-2 after allowing the Rams to get back into the game.
Parker said he felt no nerves after giving up to goals in his first period back.
“I wasn’t worried after those two goals because I understood they scored on high percentage scoring opportunities. I was confident our team wouldn’t give up many more chances like those,” said Parker. “Both those goals happened near the end of the period too so having an intermission to clear the mind was nice too. It felt good to be back.”
Syracuse came out with speed after composing themselves during the first intermission. Hayward broke the tie game with what would stand as the game-winning goal just under two minutes into the middle frame.
After Hayward took a hit from behind three minutes after scoring, the Orange went back on the power play and quickly got back to celebrating. Alternate captain Matt Jacobs buried a power-play goal to give Syracuse their second two-goal lead of the game.
The Orange never looked back as a disallowed Rhode Island goal in the middle of the second period kept momentum on their side. Back on the power play only three minutes after the Rams’ goal was called off, Jacobs found himself in the right place at the right time to net his second power-play goal of the game.
The senior said he credits his power-play fortune to the chemistry the team has.
“It’s easy to play together when you have confidence in each other. We trusted that we were able to make plays and we were able to do just that today,” the alternate captain said.
After both teams crowed their penalty boxes and were unable to capitalize with the space on the ice, the Orange found the back of the net once again. This time, it was rookie defenseman Mackenzie Murphy with a rocket shot from the point to give Syracuse a stranglehold of the Rams 6-2.
After a crazy second period that saw four goals from the Orange, Syracuse had a commanding lead heading into the final frame.
Although both teams had their chances throughout the third period, Eric Parker withstood Rhode Island's push for a comeback throughout the game, becoming a brick wall for the final 20 minutes of play.
The Orange held onto their four-goal lead and were able to win an important game for themselves as they look to climb the standings over the second half of the season. Returning faces Tim Kalinowski, who missed the first half due to injury, and Jacob Patalino, who rejoined the team during break, both came up huge once again in what felt like a must-win game for this hot Syracuse team.
Kalinowski said he tributes the recent success of the lineup to their preparation.
“It’s really a testament to how we practice. Guys might not have been in the lineup last semester, but they were practicing and have been buying into this team,” said the forward. “We have a team of guys that all know their role and that’s why we’ve had some recent success.”
Syracuse is 6-1 since the start of 2020 and will finally be back on home ice for their annual Pink the Rink game at Tennity Ice Pavilion next Friday, January 31, against NYU. Fans are invited to come dressed in pink to help the Orange fight breast cancer and pink-out the rink.
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