By Owen Sienko
Syracuse, N.Y.-- On Friday, October 4, the Syracuse Orange (0-0-0) began their 60th season with a road overtime loss to the Kent State Golden Flashes (0-2-0). Assistant Coach Andrew Wolinski manned the bench in place of Head Coach Connor Treacy, who stayed home to support his expecting wife.
Syracuse’s new-look defense rose to the occasion early in the game. Junior alternate captain Ford Hatchett played a clean, defensively responsible game, while freshman defensemen Mackenzie Murphy and Caleb Decker emerged as standout players early.
“Obviously Kenzie got the start, but Decker and he both played top 4 minutes and were rock solid I thought. Austin, too, was just terrific,” Hatchett said of the young defensemen. “I liked the game from everyone on our back end.”
Highly physical play translated into a special teams duel at the tail end of the period, but neither team was able to convert on their opportunities.
Kent State goaltender Tyler Geloneck turned the tides in favor of the Golden Flashes in the second period. After a failed Syracuse powerplay, a series of defensive breakdowns spelled disaster for Orange, leading to two quick goals by Alexander Halupnik and Zach Zwierecki.
Geloneck continued to stand on his head early in the third period with a series of miraculous saves. A little over four and a half minutes into the final frame, Kent State’s Rob Ferarri notched his first goal of the season to put his team up 3-0.
The Orange began mounting a comeback in the second half of the period when defenseman Ford Hatchett set up senior captain Peter Owen Hayward. Later in the period, Syracuse forward Lucas Prestamo scored on the powerplay to bring his team within one goal of tying the game up. Hayward struck again to tie it up 3-3 when he scored a shorthanded breakaway goal, sending the game into overtime.
“Wolly was a rock for us tonight and pushed all the right buttons in that comeback. Can’t say enough about the job he did in a really tough situation,” Hatchett said of Assistant Coach Wolinski’s performance on the bench.
“Syracuse hockey just loves overtime, right?” rookie defenseman Mackenzie Murphy said. “It was my first game, but obviously with how last season ended the veteran guys really took over and kept everyone calm.”
Despite a spirited team performance, the Orange would come up short in overtime. Kent State’s Rob Ferarri netted his second goal of the game almost four minutes into the extra period, securing his team’s first win of the season.
By the end of the game, Rob Ferrari put up two goals and an assist, while Tyler Geloneck had faced a whopping fifty shots and allowed only three goals for a .940 save percentage.
“The rust was pretty evident in the first couple periods tonight, but I thought we showed our potential in the third. So the plan will be to build on that momentum,” Hayward said, referring to the team’s game plan for Saturday night.
The second half of this weekend’s double header is set to begin tomorrow night on Saturday, October 5. Don’t forget to tune in at https://www.youtube.com/user/kentstateicehockey to watch all the action.
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OsienkO