Updated: Oct 6
By Brooke Killgore
Photo Credit: Arnav Pokhrel (Instagram: @prod_adp)
PITTSBURG, PA—After a successful exhibition against Cornell University last weekend, the Syracuse Orange split their first series of the season at Robert Morris University (RMU). After losing a hard-driven Friday night game 6-5 in overtime, the Orange dominated the third period of Saturday’s matinee, winning game two 6-4.
The Orange scored right out of the gate in the first period on Friday night. Freshman forward Matt Mahoney racked up his first career goal on the team with a shot that flew right past RMU’s goalie. The end of the first period favored the Orange, 3-1.
“Honestly, it’s great. A lot of time and effort [came] from practice,” the Massachusetts native described the feeling of his first goal.
Yet even with goals from freshman defensemen Carter Rugg and senior alternate captain Sam Hutchinson, Syracuse failed to prevent numerous penalties and RMU goals during the second period.
“Obviously, the first goal felt nice…the first one was on a power play and [I] just tried to find the soft ice, got a good feed, and then just put the puck in the net,” Edgren said in a post-game interview. “Even though we didn’t get the result we wanted [tonight], we battled back.”
Edgren’s goals, the second scored with less than three minutes remaining, pushed Syracuse into overtime. However, the excitement was cut short as RMU scored on the powerplay within two minutes of the overtime period commencing.
Friday’s game demonstrated a significant weakness for Syracuse: penalties. The Colonial’s offense scored three goals during seven power plays on Syracuse during Friday’s game, which ultimately contributed to their dominant lead-up until the late third period comeback.
“I think, as a young group, [penalties are] going to happen. In terms of our penalty kill…in terms of pressure, that’s something that we got over the top too much and led to openings,” head coach Chris Timmons pointed out. “But when we slowed down and got to our positioning and have active sticks, we were able to kill off those penalties. Just a couple of adjustments…[and] we’ll get back to our true form of what we had last year.”
Freshmen helped score four of the five goals in game one against RMU, including one by Mahoney, one by defenseman Carter Rugg, and two from Edgren.
In game two Sophomore forward Jack Alecia scored within the first couple minutes of the first period, but the 1-0 score was met by an RMU goal soon after. The same occurred when sophomore forward Jack Wren found the net with five minutes remaining and the Colonials responded within 30 seconds.
On Saturday. They had two players sent to the box for minor penalties and watched as RMU scored one power-play goal off the limited men on the ice. The score of the second period finished at 2-4, RMU looking to finish what they started the day before.
In the third, all eyes were on the Orange and questions of what would become of this young team hovered above the ice. Yet any doubts that occurred beforehand were quickly resolved as Syracuse came out of the locker room flying.
The Orange gained the advantage off a power play early on and capitalized on it as junior forward Brock Alvers sank one into the net and set the stage for a dominant Syracuse comeback.
Two goals from Hutchinson and Mahoney’s second of the series put the Orange at an astounding 6-4 lead and allowed the team to come off the night better than before.
“We look good. I think we’re in a good spot, we’re where we need to be... It’s good to see so much depth; we can hang with anybody,” Hutchinson mentioned the strength and prominence of the freshman team.
“It shows a lot of resilience, and especially with this young group, that is something we often had difficulty with in the past of overcoming, you know, being down a couple of goals,” coach Timmons said after Saturday’s game. He highlighted the immense contributions of his freshman line and their overall performance.
The Orange head back to Syracuse to play in their home opener series at Tennity Ice Pavilion on October 7th and 8th against John Carroll University. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 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.