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West Chester Sweep Syracuse Ahead of Thanksgiving Break

By Zoe Jurmann

#29, Sophomore Foward, Alexander Oakes

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--- This weekend, the Syracuse Orange (3-11-0) dropped both games to the West Chester Golden Rams (11-4-0) in their final games before Thanksgiving break. The Orange lost Saturday’s game 3-5, and Sunday’s 4-8 at Tennity Ice Pavilion.

The Orange came out hot to start Saturday night’s game, taking a quick 2-0 lead in the first, and outshooting the Golden Rams 13-7.

The Golden Rams were able to turn the game around quickly, however, scoring five straight goals and taking a commanding 5-2 lead by the end of the second period.

Lucas Prestamo noted that the team can and must do better at holding down the fort and maintaining leads in games.

“I think sticking to our system and dictating play rather than reacting to what our opponents do are things our team is continuing to work on,” said the senior. “We show moments of solid play and competitiveness, but we are definitely working on putting together a full 60-minute effort, no matter what the score is.”

Head Coach Timmons added, “[we] just need to stay hungry and not get content. Often teams will become relaxed and for us especially, we need to continue playing like it’s 0-0 game.”

Penalties have also continued to be a difficult area for the Orange as the season has progressed. Coach Timmons mentioned how often the penalties taken are emotionally driven, rather than because of the play.

“[We] need to move our feet more and use our sticks less,” said Timmons. “That’s been primarily our issue with exception to somewhere we get caught up in emotions which we need to control them better. Can’t win from the box.”

Tim Cook also stated that penalties are only drawn because of mistakes being made.

“We often take penalties on plays that should never happen where mistakes are made and then a penalty is drawn trying to make up for the mistake. Limiting these mistakes will help us limit our penalty counts,” said Cook.

Prestamo scored four of the Orange’s seven goals this weekend. The one that stood out to him the most was his first goal during Sunday’s matinee.

The senior explained that “It was a great forecheck by my linemates Goldy and Hutch, and some good work keeping the puck in and making smart plays at the blue line by the defense. Hutch made an amazing no-look pass to me and left me with a wide-open net.”

After struggling for weeks with injuries, illness, and overall frustration, the team hopes that Thanksgiving break gives the orange their much-needed time to recharge.

Much of the team has not been able to see their families since August, and have been balancing hockey with school work for months. Prestamo mentions how important family can be for the team in the second half.

“We’ve had a number of guys battling injuries and illness over the past month, so the break will provide some much-needed rest for those who haven’t been 100% healthy,” said the senior. “It’s also been a long time at school for many of our guys who have never experienced being away from home for that long, so family time is always a blessing when you can get it.

Cook also added that the break will hopefully allow the team some time to mentally readjust and gain their confidence back.

“The break should give us a little time to get our legs back under us and rest up so we can come back ready to work and compete in our upcoming matchups,” noted the rookie. “I plan on spending time with my family who I have not seen in several months.”

This team is ready to put their struggles in the first half behind them, and move forward to the second half of the season. Coach Timmons notes that the Orange have grown so much since opening night, and will only continue to improve.

“It’s only a matter of time ‘til it clicks and we figure out how to play a full 60 minutes with minimal mistakes. Once that happens, we will find success and I know this group can do it,” said the head coach.

Cook adds that he is hoping to see the team improve as a whole, but specifically the rookies getting more involved and taking on a bigger role.

“I’m hoping to certainly see more wins as we continue to develop as a team,” said the sophomore. “I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the younger guys start to produce as they’ve gotten comfortable playing”

Heading into the second half of his senior season, Prestamo continues to feel confident in this young Orange team and will continue to act as a leader both on and off the ice.

“I’m looking forward to our team coming together and finishing the season strong. While I may not be a vocal leader on the team, I try to communicate how precious time playing for the team is, as it truly goes by in a blink of an eye,” added Prestamo. “While the first half has been filled with some frustration, I believe the second half provides another chance to make progress.”

You can catch the Orange after Thanksgiving break when they take on the New York University Bobcats on December 4th at 7:30 at Tennity Ice Pavilion.

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