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Syracuse 15 - St. John's 4: No Trap Game Here

The St. John's Red Storm were taken down hard by the Syracuse Orange on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. The Orange continue to blast through the early portion of its schedule but will face a challenging Hopkins team on Saturday in a major rivalry game.

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With a visit to Hopkins on the horizon, this match-up versus a St. John's team that nearly pulled off an upset against the #4 Yale Bulldogs on Tuesday could have easily been a trap game. Those fears have been put to rest after a 15-4 beat down of the St. John's Red Storm on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. The 5-0 Syracuse Orange got the win after dominating the possession game, amongst so many other statistics. With SU taking a 54 to 15 edge in shots, the final score could have been much worse if not for the play of a duo of Red Storm goalies that made 14 saves on the day. Overall, Syracuse played well, or as Coach Desko put it during his post-game presser, "All good." But let's not celebrate yet, as St. John's is not a very good team and the Orange will have a big test next weekend when they visit the 3-2 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.

There was a lot of rotation today at both the midfield and attack positions for Syracuse. Dylan Donahue continued his point-scoring streak with two goals and two assists. Jordan Evans also started at attack, and had one of the better games of his career finishing with two goals and two assists. Evans did not have a turnover but did have one caused turnover. The Orange only turned the ball over a season low eight times and St. John's was only able to cause three turnovers. The final attackman, Tim Barber, put away two goals on the day. He took eight shots, and had two missed opportunities on the crease. Nick Prioli has been practicing, so it will be very interesting to see if Barber will be switched back to the first midfield line if Piroli is ready to play on Saturday. The best goal of the game came at 7:05 in the fourth quarter when Gale Thorpe, with a long-pole on him, released a behind-the-back shot that went through Michael O'Keeffe's legs for the second goal of his career. Brad Voigt, Nate Solomon, and Devin Shewell also saw time at attack.

The midfield crew was led by Nick Mariano, who continues to be a huge asset to Syracuse after transferring from the University of Massachusetts Minutemen. Mariano had three goals and one assist in the win and is currently the team leader in goals with 12. The junior had back-to-back goals in the first quarter. For the first goal, Mariano dodged from the top left corner of the box, beat the shorty easily, faked nearside and then switched hands to bury the goal far side on Joseph Danaher. Less than a minute later, on a restart behind the cage, Mariano found himself unguarded and carried the ball up and around the crease for an easy low goal with a late defensive slide. At this point, I don't understand why defensive units aren't shadowing him with a long-pole. Fellow first liners, Sergio Salcido and Derek DeJoe, finished with one goal and one assist each. We got to see the third midfield line early and often on Saturday. Brad McKinney had a nasty goal in the third quarter when he began a dodge, hit the breaks to get some separation from his defender, and sending a low-to-low high powered shot into the back of the net. One notable absence was midfielder Matt Lane. It appears that Lane had an undisclosed injury but should return against Hopkins. If that is the case, I would think Lane would move back to the second line with Barber moving back to midfield in place of Piroli.

Syracuse has been awesome in the transition game all year long, specifically the riding game. The Orange have held opponents to a .802 clearing percentage while maintaining a .947 clearing percentage and coming into the week ranked second in the country in percentage of successful clears. On Saturday, SJU finished 16-23 on clears while SU went an impressive 17-17. Joe Gillis led all players in caused turnovers with three while eight different SU players had at least one caused turnover. The most impressive riding play of the game came with 11:18 remaining in the third quarter when Gillis intercepted a pass at midfield and hit Dylan Donahue as he streaked towards the net with no one but the goalie in front of him. Donahue threw a fake or two and got the easy tally to put Syracuse up 11-2.

At the faceoff X, Ben Williams dominated for a .790 faceoff winning percentage while Cal Paduda hauled in three of three faceoff matchups.  Williams finished with eight groundballs and Paduda matched him with three of his own. In total, the Orange hauled in 37 groundballs against SJU's 19.

The Syracuse defense looked fantastic today. Brandon Mullins did a great job of moving his feet and staying physical on his matchup. That being said, Mullins was blanked in all stat lines except for penalties, for which he was the recipient of a slashing and a pushing call. Overall, the slides came at the right time for Syracuse and the communication appeared to be on point. Syracuse held St. John's to 0-4 on extra man opportunities, including the kill of a two-man advantage for the Red Storm. The Orange held SJU to just 15 shots, and only Eric DeJohn, a former Syracuse player, had more than one shot on goal for St. John's. Maybe the most telling stat of the day for this defensive unit is the zero assists that it allowed, which shows how the SU defense hampered the passing lanes all day.

The Syracuse netminders did not see a lot of action in Saturday's game. Combined, the three SU goalies made four saves on eight shots on goal. Tyler Avallone and Evan Molloy split time in the fourth quarter making one save and giving up one goal each. Warren Hill has had problems getting his stick to the ball all year, but against SJU he looked a lot better, although the limited amount of shots may have had something to do with that. On the other end, Joseph Danaher started the game and gave up nine goals while making six saves. His second half counterpart, Michael O'Keeffe, gave up six goals and made eight saves.

Syracuse will travel to Homewood Field on Saturday at 4 PM to take on the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU and can be heard on TK99. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for game updates.