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Syracuse Faces West Chester Ahead of Thanksgiving Break

#13, Senior forward, Tim Kalinowski (Gavin Lidsell Photo)

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Before the Syracuse Orange (3-9-0) get the week off to celebrate Thanksgiving and gear up for the end of the semester, they will meet the West Chester Golden Rams (9-4-0) this weekend. In a two-game home series, the Orange will look to put the tough Stony Brook series behind them.

After falling into deep penalty trouble, allowing eight powerplay goals to go in this past weekend against Stony Brook. Syracuse’s penalty kill had been trending in the right direction prior to the last series and will look to continue to grow against an unfamiliar opponent in the Golden Rams.

Senior Tim Kalinowski said they hope not facing Stony Brook’s high-powered powerplay will help the penalty killers tremendously.

“Stony Brook’s powerplay is one of the best in the country. Hopefully, our penalty kill unit is better just by not having to play them,” he commented. “We had made some good strides though and we have some new adjustments we are excited to try out against a non-conference opponent.”

The Golden Rams coming to town as a non-conference opponent could be a good thing for a Syracuse team that has seen so many familiar faces over the past few weeks.

Kalinowski said he expects it to be a good matchup.

“Honestly, it’s really refreshing. It’s a great break between facing the teams we always do. The teams in our conference all know each other so well. We know what to expect,” commented the forward. “But really this is about us. This is about playing our game. WCU is an unfamiliar opponent for sure but right now Syracuse is beating Syracuse too often.”

Everyone in the building knows last week was not the Orange’s best performance, and they all expect to be better. For such an inexperienced team, the rookie presence has come on strong for the Orange, and they’re going to need continued production from the young guys to have a chance in these upcoming matchups.

Rookie Sam Hutchinson doesn’t consider being a young team an excuse.

“We just have to have a short memory and focus on controlling the controllable. More than half of our team is rookies, and if we make that excuse against everyone we play, then we won’t win,” said the sophomore. “We have to buckle down and play our game this weekend.”

Syracuse had an off day at practice Monday but was back on the ice working on all phases of their game Tuesday in practice. Assistant coach Jordan Alhart said being disappointed by last weekend's results should fuel the team.

“Guys should be a little frustrated after a weekend like that and use that frustration to ramp up the effort level in practice. A high compete level in practice is only going to push guys to be better,” said the first-year assistant.

As the old sports saying goes, you practice how you play, and Syracuse will try and translate their work this week in practice into results on the ice this weekend. Syracuse has their own saying to personify that.

“We have a saying ‘put it in the bank’ which means working extra hard in practice so that we have it in the bank on gameday. Putting it in the bank, that’s how we’re trying to embody [translating practice to game time productivity],” shared Tim, who coined the phrase.

Sam ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson said the grind from this week's practice should show up this weekend for Syracuse.

“A full 60-minute effort in a game is the product of putting the right work into practice and having the drive to go hard for each other,” said Hutch. “We skated hard [this week] and nobody let up. That’s what ‘putting it in the bank’ is, and we all have to be accountable for doing that every time we touch the ice if we want to be successful.”

Syracuse hasn’t lacked motivation so far this season, it's the frustration that may be mounting for the Orange. But, Kalinowski, notorious for his locker room presence, did share that a big speech on controlling one’s emotions isn’t necessary with this group.

“Not a lot else has to be said. We’re losing and it stinks. Everyone knows they have to be better. Everyone. Myself on down,” said the senior who always tries to be a spark for the boys. “Everyone has to be better.” He repeated.

The Orange will look to get back in the win column and leave Syracuse for Thanksgiving with not only wins but with momentum behind them. It is the heart of the season for the Orange, and if they hope to turn things around, taking care of business against the West Chester Golden Rams will help tremendously. The puck will drop between Syracuse and West Chester on Saturday, November 20th, at 7:30 pm from Tennity Ice Pavilion. Those already home for the holiday weekend can also tune in via their live broadcast, found here.

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By Twitter: @isabella_skye23

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