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Cornell 10 - Syracuse 9 (OT): Offensive Failure Squanders Faceoff Success

The Syracuse Orange took the short trip to Ithaca, NY for the 101st game in its rivalry against the Cornell Big Red. The Orange fell in overtime after failing to capitalize on Ben WIlliams' 18 faceoff wins.

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After a win over the Hobart Statesmen last Wednesday, Evan Molloy again got the start in net over Warren Hill. Nick Mellen was held out of the starting lineup as he is suffering from an illness and in his place Marcus Cunningham got his first start his career.

The scoring started off early with Dylan Donahue getting an easy goal on the crease (1-0 SU). Jordan Evans followed that up with a goal of his own at 7:28 in the first quarter (2-0 SU). Evans had seven goals in the last two games but on Tuesday he seemed to devolve once again, putting up a goal, two assists, and coughing up three turnovers. Andrew Keith got Cornell on the board with 3:45 remaining in the first on a hard bounce shot from deep (2-1 SU). Nick Mariano found the net less than two minutes later with a shot as he ran down the near side alley (3-1 SU). With one second remaining in the period, however, it was Clarke Peterson in front of the net getting the last second talley (3-2 SU).

The second period saw just three goals. Emmy Poccia scored from nearly 15 yards out to tie the game at three, but Mariano was able to get a rocket past Cornell goaltender Brennan Donville to give Syracuse back the lead (4-3 SU). With under two minutes remaining in the half, Evan Molloy made a save on the doorstep. The Orange went on the clear and Jordan Evans was able to get the ball to Dylan Donahue in transition for a nice goal (5-3 SU).

Throught the first half Syracuse had put only 12 of 21 shots on net. More significantly, and positively for that matter, Ben Williams was 7-9 at the faceoff X against one of the best in the nation, Domenic Massimilian. Last year Williams went just 9-22 against him in what was Williams' worst game of the 2015 season.

With the Syracuse offense sputtering and seemingly unable to hit the cage, Cornell outscored the Orange 4-2 in the third period. The Big Red opened up the second half with back-to-back goals from Petterson and Kason Tarbell (5-5). Off of the faceoff after the Tarbell goal, Donahue hit long-pole Austin Fusco for his first career goal (6-5 SU). Less than a minute later, SU forced a turnover and got itself back into the offensive zone. Tim Barber was able to throw a fake, get off his man and get a one-on-one with Donville for the easy goal, his only of the game (7-5 SU). Cornell's Ryan Matthews was able to keep it close with a lazer from the right side (7-6 SU) and with just six seconds remaining in the period, it Tarbell was able to tie the game again (7-7).

Syracuse was able to respond early in the fourth quarter with a rocket of a shot from Mariano (8-7 SU). The two squads went back and forth with both giving up a penalty before Clarke Petterson tied the game up again (8-8). Williams won the next faceoff, getting the ball back to the offense and to Mariano who put home his fourth of the game (9-8 SU). Just 14 seconds later, Dan Bockelman evened the score (9-9). If your keeping track, that was three goals within 55 seconds. Both teams were held scoreless for the final 7:46 of regulation, and even while Cornell had not led at any point on the night this one was sent to overtime.

Prior to Tuesday, SU was 0-2 in overtime games, and that record only got worse. Evan Molloy was able to make a save on Ryan Matthews, but gave up a rebound right back to Matthews who buried the game winning goal for a 10-9 final.

Evan Molloy played pretty well in cage. He picked up six saves and allowed ten goals against, but he had some big time saves to keep his team in it including a last second stop in regulation. He certainly has not played his way out of the starting spot. Give credit to Donville who put up 13 saves against the Orange.

The most impressive and yet disheartening statistic of the day has to be Ben Williams' 18-22 faceoff performance. It is impressive because the junior went against one of the best at the faceoff X, but the Orange failed to take advantage of his .818 winning percentage. You cannot ask your FOGO to do much more than Williams did on Tuesday.

The offense was certainly disappointing. Nick Mariano put up four goals on ten shots while Dylan Donahue had two goals and an assist. Only three other Syracuse players found the net. Sergio Salcido took five shots without putting one on cage, and overall the Orange put 22 shots on net out of 40 shots taken. I also don't think we can ignore the 0-4 on extra-man opportunities. SU is #2 in the country in man-up offense, and there's really no excuse for not putting at least one away.

At the end of the day this wasn't an issue of turnovers, clears, goalie play, or faceoff wins, it was simply poor offensive execution.

I know there is a lot of pessimism floating around this SU season right now, but the Orange have at least two more big opportunities coming up. Next weekend SU will take on UNC and later on will play either Brown in the ACC-Brown Classic or another ACC team in the first round fo the Conference Tournament. Cross your fingers.