Updated: Oct 16, 2021
By Isabella Apple
Defenseman, #7 Mackenzie Murphy
Syracuse, N.Y. -- The Syracuse Orange (2-2-0) are traveling to the Big Apple this weekend to take on the New York University Violets (2-2-0). The Orange have not taken the ice since opening the season (0-2-0) against Stony Brook, as Drexel was forced to forfeit last weekend's games.
The Orange, who were outscored 16-2 on home ice, are eager to get the bitter taste from the last series out of their mouths. With an extremely young team, it’ll be key to see how the coaching staff and veteran leadership handle the adversity of the past few weeks. To keep pace with a stacked division, Syracuse must start piling wins together to avoid falling behind.
Junior Mackenzie Murphy said the team is ready to get their first road trip together underway.
“We’re excited to get on the road. It's been a while since any of us have traveled on a bus,” said the defenseman. “It’s always nice to spend some extra time with the guys. Especially early in the year, it’s nice to use it as a time for guys to get more comfortable around each other.”
The Syracuse team, which has 13 rookies rostered, will look to continue to build chemistry both on and off the ice, and there’s no better way to do that than spending hours on a bus together and sharing hotel rooms on the road.
Senior Lucas Prestamo, who has played three full seasons for the Orange - the most anyone on the roster has played - knows the importance of traveling as a team.
“I think it will help bring us closer for sure. It’ll be a new experience for a lot of the team but should provide a good opportunity to bring everyone together,” said the veteran.
Going into NYU’s territory won’t be a walk in Central Park for the Orange. Although they share matching records, Syracuse’s only wins thus far in the season have come off Drexel University’s forfeits. It is imperative for the Orange to come out and play as a unit.
Murphy said the team was crushed having to wait another week to play real games again after the cancelation.
“We were really disappointed after the Drexel games were canceled, we wanted redemption after opening weekend and it was brutal not being able to play.” said the captain. “That being said, we're excited for the opportunity to get on the road and get our first [real] win of the season.”
Having two weeks of practices without games after a tough opening weekend meant the team had a lot of time to focus on improving their play for NYU.
Forward Tim Kalinowski said the boys zeroed in on getting back to the basics of the game to become a more complete team.
“Our structure and making sure that we’re fundamentally sound. We really focused on passing and using all five guys on the ice in order to work better as a unit,” said the senior.
Murphy reiterated that sentiment and said they need to be much better in the defensive zone after giving up eight goals in each of their last two games.
“We worked a lot on our systems. Making sure everyone knows their role on the forecheck and in the defensive zone,” commented the defenseman
The NYU Violets also will be the only opponent Syracuse faces this year that cannot have fans in attendance for the games. This presents just another challenge for Syracuse as NYU is already a tough environment to play in with the crowd bringing the energy, the boys will be forced to manufacture all that and then some to stop this NYU team.
Kalinowski admitted playing without a crowd will be both difficult and just straight-up strange for them.
“It’s tough because NYU is the only team in the league not allowing fans. I really wish my parents could come to see me but we’re super excited to just go play another team.” He continued, ”everyone is aware of this opportunity and we just want to go out there and prove we’re a better team than we showed two weeks ago.”
When asked about how the team can bring their own energy, Kalinowski - one of the loudest voices in the Syracuse locker room over the past four years - minced no words.
“Not playing for two weeks should be fine enough to spark some energy. If you can’t bring energy after losing 16-2 [in a weekend] on home ice I don’t know what to tell you,” said the senior.
The puck will drop between the Orange and the Violets on Friday, October 15th, at 9 pm from NYU. The weekend series will wrap up with an evening game Saturday, October 16th, at 6 pm.
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