By Jacob Erlbaum
Photo Credit: Arnav Pokhrel (Instagram: @Prod_adp)
After a hot start through four games, Syracuse will take on Kent State on the road tonight as the Orange look to build on their three-game winning streak. During the win streak, SU has outscored its opponents 19 to 11, including a six to two-defeat of John Carroll University last Sunday.
For Syracuse, this weekend is about keeping its strong start to the season going, which is something the Orange did not have the opportunity to do last season. Last year, the Orange won two games through their first eight games of the season, but now Syracuse has won three of its first four, and a large opportunity looms to expand on that this weekend.
It won’t be easy going on the road and taking on Kent State, who have also gotten off to a strong start. The Golden Flashes have won five of their first eight games, including five straight to start the year before tying one and dropping two straight to Indiana Tech.
It is a tall task for the Orange, and perhaps the toughest part of it will be slowing down talented forward Jack Kinsman. In just eight games, Kinsman has already tallied 17 points, including eight goals. Last year against the Orange, Kinsman scored twice in Kent State’s six to two-win over Syracuse, but he was held scoreless in their second matchup in which the Orange won five to two. Another important note is that Kinsman had just 13 points in 23 games all of last season, and now, through eight games, he’s already passed that total.
Not only do the forwards present a challenge for Syracuse, Kent State’s second leader in points plays on defense. Defenseman JJ Creighton has 10 points with three goals and seven assists in eight games.
It must be a complete effort for the Orange to slow down Kent State at forward and defense, as the Golden Flashes have weapons at both positions. For Syracuse, a key will be to play physically on Kinsman and not allow him to have time to make plays with the puck in the offensive zone. For Creighton, the Orange will have to block shots from the point and not give him any space to walk in and shoot.
Syracuse also has plenty of talent, including forwards Jack Alecia and Sam Hutchinson. The duo have combined for 23 points and 10 goals through four games for the Orange with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“We’re getting production from all lines, everybody’s chipping in,” Hutchinson said this week.
The Orange have had 13 players record a point through the first four games, including nine forwards. Although Alecia and Hutchinson lead the pack in scoring, everyone has really been able to contribute so far, as Hutchinson said.
For Syracuse, hopefully, that production continues this weekend in Ohio as it looks to pick up two big wins. It’ll be a 7:30 p.m. puck drop tonight and a 4:30 matinee on Saturday.