By Brooke Killgore
Photo by Maria Kaffes (Instagram: @mariakaffesimages)
SYRACUSE, NY— Syracuse (10-7-1 ESCHL) takes on rival conference opponents, the University of Rhode Island Rams (11-10-0 ESCHL) at home tonight and tomorrow. Coming off a convincing William Patterson sweep; that landed the Orange at a #25 ACHA ranking, the team looks to secure a pivotal win. Yet, this series isn’t your normal Tennity Ice Pavilion showcase.
The ‘CUSE will play at their home barn tonight for the first time since November 2023. The last time the Orange skated at Tennity, they swept Drexel before their Thanksgiving feast—a stepping stone to receiving their ACHA ranking. This time, however, they take on URI—an opponent Syracuse narrowly swept in 2022 with an overtime win and a 2-1 victory the next day. Syracuse knows how to maneuver at home—where they have won five of seven games.
But this time, home has a different meaning, especially for tomorrow. SU will host their Saturday game of the series at Upstate Medical University Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning affiliated AHL team, the Syracuse Crunch.
Not only does Upstate give fans more room to sit and cheer, but the arena is home to Syracuse’s Oncenter War Memorial— where their website describes it as “a living tribute to Onondaga County Veterans.”*
The arena carries weight for the players, including junior forward Brock Alvers, and tells a story of resiliency and the future.
“The War Memorial is a staple of the Syracuse community and it’s an honor to be playing in such a historical building while also representing SU,” the Illinois native described.
For other players, the Saturday game is a chance to showcase the team’s resiliency and fight for their future.
“We’ve worked hard this week [after winter break], and we don’t want to come back to lose this weekend…We’re excited for the game,” sophomore defenseman Sean Caddo said.
“[This series] is huge for the ESCHL playoffs…URI is ranked right near us, and [playoffs and beating them] are two goals we’ve had since the beginning of the season. [These games] will set the tone for the rest of the year.”
For some SU players, this experience is a privilege from the Syracuse Crunch organization, and junior forward Anthony Larkin wants to give thanks for this opportunity.
“Playing at Upstate Medical [University] Arena has been a privilege. The entire Crunch organization has consistently treated us with class and respect….It is awesome to be a part of growing the game of hockey here in Syracuse.”
The Orange have the opportunity to solidify their playoff chances with a clean and easy sweep over URI. The biggest problem may be the four Ram lines as they have accumulated 33 points this season and recorded a .500 PCT, which may challenge SU’s goaltenders. URI goaltender Curtis Briggs may be a brick wall for Syracuse's lines with a .918 SV%, 2.83 GAA, and 437 recorded saves.
Puck drop tonight is at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. 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.
*Saturday’s game at Upstate Medical University Arena. Check our website www.suhockey.com for more information.