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Syracuse Melts Six-Game Cold Streak In Weekend RIT Series

Updated: Feb 14

By Brooke Killgore

Photo Credit: Maria Kaffes (Instagram: @mariakaffesimages)

SYRACUSE, NY—After a six-game cold streak on the ice, Syracuse men’s hockey secured their first win and their fifth sweep this season. SU declawed the RIT Tigers with a 4-1 win on Friday night and a dominant 8-2 showing on Saturday. The Orange headed into the weekend looking to generate momentum ahead with Delaware next weekend and they achieved their mission.

After a tough series against No. 10 Niagara University last weekend, Syracuse had to sharpen their skills and figure out their rhythm during the RIT series—two non-conference games that could add to the win column. 

Friday night brought four impactful goals; it was a community that united to support an SU player. Syracuse ROTC traveled out to Tennity Ice Pavilion to cheer on their fellow cadet, first-year forward Brendan Duffy. Whether it be a hit that sent an RIT player flying or simply a touch of the puck, the ROTC cadets were loud and faithful—banging on the glass, chanting, or singing along to the loudspeaker.

“It wasn’t me, it was my professor of military science,” the right-wing said. “He put the word out there—a little extra credit for the cadets coming out here—we appreciate them coming out today.”

Other players also commented on the presence of the cadets. Junior center Anthony Solt scored his second goal of the season against RIT’s Friday lines, and he mentioned how he felt the support of Duffy’s cheer squad.

“[The ROTC cadets] were awesome. I don’t think we’ve had a crowd like that in a long, long time,” the Colorado native said. “So it was really fun to have them, [the cadets] were getting into it. All the boys thought it was super fun. It put a smile on our faces. They gave us something to play for. They got us going and amped us up.”

In terms of scoring, three individual freshmen found the back of the net. Left-wing Matt Mahoney and right-wing Brett Edgren added two points to their kid line. Center Kade Cook scored on a line with his older brother, right-wing Tim Cook. Alongside Solt’s third-period goal, the Orange put up 44 shots on RIT goaltender Joshua Ruffner, who finished with a .909 save percentage overall. 

On the flip side, junior goaltender Chris Spano had himself a night. The Yonkers native had not seen action since the second night of the Liberty series in late January. While in Virginia, the junior stopped 37 of 44 shots and ended with a .841 save percentage overall, Friday was a completely different story.

Spano recorded his best save percentage of the season, a .957 SV%, with 22 saves out of 23 RIT attempts for the 4-1 win.  

“Honestly, it’s not me. It’s my defense. They support me every game, blocking shots and keeping shots to the outside. They just make it easy on me,” the goaltender described.

High on momentum, the Orange welcomed the Tigers back to Tennity the next afternoon. A great game would be an understatement, as Syracuse blew RIT out of the water right off the start. Centers Isaac Arnold and Jack Alecia drew first blood in the opening frame, Alecia's off a Sam Hutchinson assist, his 31st point this season.

From there, the Orange scored four unanswered goals in the second period. Edgren took two of his own while assisting goals for left-wing Jack Wren and K. Cook’s second of the series. The freshman took home the Celly Hockey Co. Player of the Game for his major contribution to Syracuse’s 8-2 win.

“It feels good. My line was clicking and making it easy on me,” the Massachusetts native said. “Scoring always feels nice, so it felt good to get back in the win column this weekend.”

One of those goals belonged to defenseman Jake Brown—his first of the season in the third period. The first-year found the back of the net unassisted. Brown described how his first game came to fruition.

“I was waiting for the right moment in the season, and RIT would be the right time to do it. I decided to pop one in there.”

In the crease, sophomore goaltender John Angelino put up high numbers in his third game of the season. Defending 20 of 22 shots, he finished the night with a .909 save percentage.

Even with a clean sweep and a joyous ending to non-conference, the Orange were dealt a bad card. The ACHA announced the new ESCHL standings on Monday, and SU has unfortunately lost the sixth seed spot to the Drexel Dragons, who gained two points in their final series against No. 20 Delaware last weekend. This sets Syracuse at a five-point gap to catch up. To make matters worse, this weekend’s upcoming series against Delaware can only produce four points if the Orange can sweep the Blue Hens.

But there is always a spark of positivity in the face of adversity. If Syracuse can sweep Delaware, there is a small chance they may see the ACHA National Tournament, given other teams in contention drop their weekend matchups. 

Even if there is no postseason berth, the Orange—now 12-12-1, 2-7-1 ESCHL—play for more than four points against the Blue Hens—13-8-2, 4-3-3 ESCHL—this weekend. On Sunday, three seniors, alternate captain Sam Hutchinson, defenseman Alex Oakes, and forward John Coggiola, play their final game in an SU uniform. Accompanying them are three of our own media staff: director of communications Zoe Jurman, head of broadcasting Jared Johnston, and former player and current broadcaster Colby Ratel. 

You can catch the Orange with puck drops at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and Senior Night festivities kick off before puck drop at 2 p.m. on Sunday. All home games are played at the Tennity Ice Pavilion on Syracuse University’s campus and are free to attend for students and the general public. Home games are also broadcast live for free on the SU Hockey Network.

Contact me:

X: @BKillgore13

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