SYRACUSE, N.Y.- It was packed at the Carrier Dome Sunday evening as No. 6 Syracuse hosted No. 12 Albany for the Danes’ first game of the season. Syracuse routed Albany 16-7.
Faceoffs have been a big factor in both of Syracuse’s wins this season. Ben Williams started at the X for the Orange, winning the first 11 faceoffs of the day. Williams won 17 of 24 against Albany’s Zach Ornstein. Cal Paduda won three of three when he took over for Williams in the fourth quarter. Dominating at the faceoff left little opportunity for Albany to gain possession.
“It’s hard to win when you don’t have the ball,” said Albany Coach Scott Marr. “It’s hard to play defense that much and continue to get stop after stop. Give them credit for facing off well and taking advantage of having the ball so much.”
“It was great that Ben was in good form and gave us a lot of possessions, putting a lot of pressure on their defense throughout the game,” said Syracuse Coach John Desko. “As coaches we went into halftime disappointed that there wasn’t a bigger margin with the amount of time we had the ball on offense.”
Syracuse’s offense took 59 shots throughout the game with goals from nine different players. Nick Mariano led the team with three goals and one assist. Derek DeJoe also added three goals of his own and Matt Lane tallied two goals and two assists. Dylan Donohue assisted on four goals while scoring one for himself. Syracuse only scored on one of four man-up opportunities.
“That’s what we’d like to be standard, that’s how we like to play,” said Desko of the multiple players scoring. “We don’t want to give the ball to one person all the time and if they get stopped and our team stops, our offense stops. We want to share the ball like we did.”
“When you have a team with that many threats it becomes difficult to play against,” said Coach Marr.
Albany graduated last year’s leading scorer and two-time Tewaaraton winner, Lyle Thompson. Albany’s scoring was led by Bennett Drake and Justin Reh who each scored two goals. Seth Oakes added one goal and one assist . Syracuse held the Danes’ top returning scorer, Connor Fields, to two assists. Albany capitalized on two of three man-up opportunities.
“We felt that they were going to share the ball this year instead of giving it to one player, [Lyle Thompson], 80% of the time,” said Coach Desko. “The defense got comfortable fast and were pretty stingy.”
Albany cleared 20 of 25 times and added 18 turnovers. Syracuse was nearly perfect, clearing 18 of 19 times and turning the ball over 13 times. The Orange outnumbered the Danes in ground ball pickups, 45-26.
“We’re a blue collar team we’re a hard nosed team and we like to get majority of the ground balls and they out ground-balled us today and I think that was another big factor in today’s loss,” said Albany goalkeeper Blaze Riorden.
Riorden played the full 60 minutes for the Danes, saving 17 of 33 shots on goal. Warren Hill also played the full 60 minutes for the Orange, saving five shots of 12.
“They started off firing and I didn’t do a good job coming out to a great start,” said Riorden. “A lot of the guys were looking to me to spark and set the mentality for how the game was gonna go and I didn’t do a good job of that.”
With Tim Barber and Nick Mariano injured, Coach Desko said we can plan to see more of Devin Shewell, Nate Solomon, and Gale Thorpe. Desko is hopeful that Barber will return for next weekend’s matchup against Army.
With the win, the Orange improve to 2-0 while the Danes fall to 0-1.