It took overtime for a result in South Carolina, as the no. 6 Syracuse Orange (10-3-2, 3-2-2) played the no. 8 Clemson Tigers (9-2-4, 3-1-3) to a scoreless draw. The ACC matchup of two mid-table teams saw both looking for a spark heading into the home stretch and the post season.
The first half was a solid Syracuse effort, putting consistent pressure on the Clemson defense and maintaining pressure throughout, but they were only able to get a pair of shots off. Clemson actually had some of the solid chances, countering out of the back for some easy crosses and 1v1s that they somehow managed to not convert or put a shot on goal. Either way the teams went into the half scoreless and evenly matched.
The second half opened all Orange and continued that way in the possession and shots columns. They out shot the Tigers 6-3 in the period but came away empty handed. If I had called the game at that point, I would have pegged Syracuse to come out on top. Outside of a small spell of Clemson possession and a hell of a shanked chance late, the half belonged to the Orange. Hendrik Hilpert wasn’t even called into action until after regulation.
After regulation ended, both teams found a little extra in the tank. The first extra time session was a very back and forth affair, Clemson out of the gate, testing the Orange defense early and forcing Hilpert to make a very solid save. The Orange finished the period peppering the Clemson net, Jonathan Hagman getting one of frame midway through followed by solid pressure until the end of the period to no avail. Hilpert was tested again within the first minute of the second extra time, but was again up to the task for his second and final save on the night.
Overall it’s the fourth meeting of the two teams within the last calendar year. Clemson won the regular season matchup last year 1-0 here in Syracuse, then lost the return leg 0-2 down in South Carolina. The teams met again in the College Cup, drawing 0-0, with Clemson advancing on penalties. This seemed a continuation of that game and this series seems to keep producing solid games.
The Orange end up finishing their season against no. 2 Wake Forest up here on Friday night. It’s definitely a match worthy of heading out to check if you’re in town. If there’s anything we’ve learned from Syracuse’s league opponents this year, it’s that the ACC is absolutely nutty. This will be the fourth matchup against a team in the NSCAA Top 10 and the seventh against a ranked opponent (eighth if you count the MSU scrimmage). Either way, head on up to the Hill for this one.