By Isabella Apple
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse Orange (1-6-1) finally arrived home to play the Drexel Dragons (9-1-2) at the Tennity Ice Pavilion for the first time this season. Despite facing a pair of two-goal deficits, Syracuse was able to tie the game late in the third period but fell just short of fully completing the comeback.
The Drexel Dragons came out hot, peppering Syracuse goaltender Eric Parker early and often in the first period. Parker stood tall as Drexel continuously threw pucks on net throughout the first ten minutes of play.
The Orange got themselves into penalty trouble when forward Connor Preston and defenseman Ford Hatchett took back-to-back minor penalties five minutes into the opening frame. Syracuse’s aggressive puck pursuit paired with timely shot-blocking on the penalty kill helped Syracuse withstand almost four minutes straight of constant pressure from the Dragons.
Killing back-to-back minors also helped the Orange tilt the ice in their favor. After finally getting back to even-strength play, the Orange were able to get sustained offensive zone pressure and get a power-play of their own with 3:30 remaining in the first.
Although unable to score, Syracuse had several quality scoring opportunities towards the end of the period, generating momentum heading into the first intermission.
The Dragons would come out of the break swinging, however, getting the icebreaker just 24 seconds into the second frame. Dragons forward Eugene Lim was able to find a rebound around Parker’s crease and bury the loose puck to give Drexel a 1-0 lead early.
After an unintentional trip, captain Peter-Owen Hayward landed in the sin bin with just under six minutes remaining in the second frame. With one of Syracuse’s top penalty killers in the box, the Dragons were able to capitalize on the power play after the Orange failed to clear the offensive zone. Drexel defenseman Nick Urbani buried a one-timer from the right face-off circle, squeaking the puck just between Parker and his post to give the Dragons a 2-0 lead.
The Orange were unable to break Drexel’s netminder Jeremy Wik until forward Peter-Owen Hayward beat his man to the front of the net and found a beautiful pass from alternate captain Matt Jacobs to get Syracuse on the board with just 29.7 seconds remaining in the second.
Going into the second intermission, Syracuse had the home crowd behind them and were trailing Drexel 2-1.
Opening the third period, Drexel again came out firing and were able to sneak another puck by Parker, going up two goals on the Orange.
The 3-1 deficit didn’t phase Syracuse as they continued to press in the offensive zone and were rewarded when forward Zach Gordon found himself in the right place at the right time. Gordon was able to bury the loose puck between empty pipes after Drexel’s netminder had vacated his post in order to challenge a streaking Jacobs.
Gordon credits teammates Ford Hatchett and Matt Jacobs for helping him net his second of the season.
“It started with a very nice chip by Ford into the zone and Matt Jacobs beating the defenseman to the puck. Their goalie made a risky move challenging Matt that far out of the net and when the puck popped to me I had a wide-open net to shoot at,” said Gordon.
The Orange tied the game up just minutes later as Hayward was able to find Jacobs just as he was being knocked down to the ice. Jacobs wasted no time finding the back of the net as Drexel seemed lost in their own zone to score the equalizer.
Tied 3-3, the Dragons netted what would be the game-winning goal with just 1:37 remaining.
After losing seven straight, alternate captain Ford Hatchett feels like the team just has to be better.
“Honestly, there’s been enough talking about how close we are and how we’re right there. In reality, we felt we had this one and once again we let it slip away.” Hatchett continued, “Nobody is coming in to bail us out. We dug this massive hole and it’s on us to find a way out.”
Syracuse will celebrate alumni weekend and look to get their first home win of the season against Drexel Saturday, November 9th at 2:00 PM at the Tennity Ice Pavilion.
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