Nick Mellen once again had a phenomenal game at close defense, taking on Albany's best attackman Connor Fields and holding him to just two assists and no goals on seven shots. In fact, the two best Albany attackmen, Fields and Seth Oakes, finished with just one goal in total. The Syracuse freshman had five groundballs and added a caused turnover to his effort. I have been incredibly impressed by this kid throughout these first two games. He is turning into a legitimate shut down defender, and his work on the clears is something to be noted as well. As a unit, the Orange made 10 caused turnovers on the day.
Offensively, Syracuse came out of the gate running. SU had 38 shots through the first half and finished with 59, an impressively high number. The Orange continuously tried to stretch the Albany defense out and look for individual matchups. In what was somewhat of a surprise, graduate student Nick Piroli was out of the game with a lower body injury. Tim Barber filled in for the first half at attack, but was crushed by a huge hit just before halftime. Barber did not return and was on the sidelines without pads on for the rest of the game, so we will keep an eye on that situation. In his place Devin Shewell took over and had a great half at the attack position with two goals including one deep shot while being double covered. This team has a ton of attackmen available, and freshman Nate Solomon got his chance, coming into the game and picking up his first collegiate score. The Georgian scored with 3:33 remaining in the game when he beat his defender on the wing, turned the corner and buried a shot to make it 15-7 Syracuse.
Derek DeJoe had a heck of a game, and was one of two SU players to earn a hat trick. The senior's three goals came off of three shots. Two of his goals came from deep while he also had a tally after getting underneath his defender on the wing and taking it straight to the net. UMass transfer, Nick Mariano, also picked up a trio of goals but also added an assist. He's got great side arm shot and is certainly as good as advertised.
As I pointed out last week, Dylan Donahue appears to be developing into his distributor role nicely. Donahue picked up a goal and four assists on the day, but he did take seven shots, only four of which were on cage.
With Barber moving up to the attack line, Matt Lane filled in on the starting midfield line. Lane had a tremendous game with two goals and two assists, one of which I'm surprised didn't rip the net it was moving so fast.
At the faceoff X, Syracuse went 20-27. SU won 11 straight faceoffs to start the game but Ben Williams appeared to take his foot off the gas. He finished with 17 wins on 24 trips to the X. Cal Paduda came in at the end of the game and took home all three of his opportunities.
In net, Warren Hill only had to make five saves on the day. It wasn't until the end of the third quarter when Hill made his second save. The Great Danes only put 12 shots on cage, so he didn't exactly see a barrage of shots, but Hill had some nice saves in the fourth quarter. On the other side of the field, Blaze Riorden made 17 saves and allowed 16 goals. He did everything he could to slow down the SU offense.
Syracuse will host the Army Black Knights on Sunday at 4 PM. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and can be heard on TK99. Of course you can follow me @Orangelax for game updates.