The Syracuse Orange will play its final regular season game of the year on Saturday against the Colgate Raiders. SU has already solidified itself as a host for the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and I believe they will receive a two seed when the dust settles on Sunday. This of course is assuming they beat Colgate in the Carrier Dome this weekend. After last week's goaltender debacle, I think it is safe to assume Dominic Lamolinara will be starting against Colgate but remember he is a senior so don't read too much into it in terms of predicting who will start in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Raiders have compiled a 9-6 record in 2014, and have gone 4-4 in the Patriot League's regular season. Colgate and Syracuse have three common opponents. The Raiders beat Hobart 7-5 and Binghamton 10-9 but lost to Cornell 10-15. The vast majority of Colgate's goals are unassisted. Their offense is generally run through two or three guys and is mostly a dodging oriented attack. Even worse, their man-up unit only converts 24% of the time, leaving them sixtieth in the country. Overall their scoring offense is pretty dismal in general, as they only put up an average of just under 9 goals per game, placing them fifty-fifth in the nation. That being said, Colgate has shown to be very solid defensively. On average the Raiders give up just over 8 goals per game, ninth in the country in that category.
Our upstate neighbors got an invite to the Patriot League Tournament. Their first round game pitted them against Bucknell, whom they beat in double overtime on a goal from midfielder Matt Clarkson. The junior from Garden City, NY, has had put up 13 goals and 13 assists in 15 games and has the most points of any midfielder on the team. The game-winning goal against Bucknell was his second of the game. Another big reason for Colgate's win over the Bison, their face-off man, Alex Kinnealey, went 19-23 on face-offs. Overall, Colgate is fourth in face-off win percentage in the country, but Kinnealey is ranked as the eighth best FOGO in terms of win percentage. He has taken .625 on the year and snagged 107 groundballs.
The Raiders went on to lose to Loyola in their second game in the Patriot League Tournament 12-6. Matt Walsh led the team with 3 goals on the day. Walsh has been the offensive leader for the Raiders, totaling 30 goals and 13 assists this year.
The Colgate defense has been pretty good this year in terms of causing turnovers. Bobby Lawrence has picked up 26 caused turnovers, leading the Raiders, and is followed up by fellow defensemen Kevin Boyle with 16 and Leo Stouros with 10. Lawrence also leads the team in penalties with 10 penalty minutes. Colgate features a very talented net-minder. Brandon Burke, brother of former Brown goalie and current Boston Cannons goalie Jordan Burke, came into the week nineteenth in the country in save percentage and seventh in the nation in goals against average. Burke has a 8.12 goals against average and a .543 save percentage. Against Cornell, Burke gave up 15 goals and made 10 saves.
Saturday's game will be played at 4 pm in the Carrier Dome and can be seen on TWCS and heard on ESPN Radio 97.7 FM.