The Syracuse Orange will take on the Albany Great Danes at 3 PM on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. This will be the third matchup between these two programs since the start of 2016. Albany is coming into the game after losing some big pieces since last year, including John Maloney, Seth Oakes, and Blaze Riorden. That being said, the Orange are not 100% either, with the recent announcement that Preseason All-ACC defenseman Nick Mellen will miss the entirety of the season.
While the games between these two have often been explosive scoring episodes, Saturday’s game has the potential to be a little more subdued with so many big time scorers not on the rosters any longer.
I may be in the minority here, but I think Albany may be overrated. I see the SU defense experiencing some early growing pains but being very aggressive and ultimately successful. I expect Williams to win the majority of the faceoffs but for Ornstein to get a good number on him. There are plenty of scorers on the Syracuse side and I think the difference in this game to be at least five. Prediction? Syracuse 14 - Albany 8
Saturday’s game can be seen on the ACC Digital Network Extra (ESPN3) and heard on TK99/105. Of course you can always follow me @Orangelax.
Mascot: Great Danes
Coach: Scott Marr
Location: Albany, NY
Conference: America East
Game Location: Carrier Dome
Game Time: 3 PM
Television/Radio: ACC Network Extra (ESPN3) / TK99/105
All-Time Syracuse Record Vs. Opponent: 14-1
Previous Matchup: Syracuse win 11-9 in First Round of NCAA Tournament, Syracuse win 16-7 in Regular Season
Opponent Ranking: #12 Maverik Media Poll / #12 USILA Coches Poll
2016 Quick Facts
Record: 12-4, 7-1 Home, 5-3 Away
Conference Record: 6-0
Conference Postseason Results: Lost to Hartford 11-10 in America East Semifinals
NCAA Tournament Postseason Results: Lost to Syracuse 11-9 in First Round
2016 Team Statistics
Total Goals– Shot Attempts: 207-605
Total Opponent Goals– Shot Attempts: 161-646
EMO Goals (Percentage): 27 (.500)
EMO Goals Against (Kill Percentage): 15 (.333)
Team Shooting Percentage: .342
Opponent Shooting Percentage: .249
Shots on Goal Percentage: .608
Opponent Shots on Goal Percentage: .563
Opponent Groundballs: 452
Caused Turnovers: 215
Faceoffs: 207-418 (.495)
Clearing Percentage: 292-322 (.907)
Opponent Clearing Percentage: 239-272 (.879)
Penalties: 48 (38:30)
Connor Fields is the big name on the Albany roster. The junior’s 44 goals, 29 assists, and 73 total points made him a Tewaaraton Trophy Nominee in 2016. As a freshman Fields put up 66 goals, good enough for ninth most by any freshman in NCAA history, along with had ten caused turnovers including this one which led to a goal against Syracuse:
It’s hard to gauge what the rotation we will see but I would guess we may see more of Andrew Helmer in Saturday’s game. With Nick Mellen out, Helmer may be the most athletic long pole available to cover Connor Fields.
Fields will most likely be partnered with Jake Cullen and Justin Reh, although we could see Drake Bennett as well. Reh had 22 goals and 19 assists last year. The Great Danes will miss former attackman Seth Oakes left the team this past offseason and going with him were his 98 goals and 23 assists he put up in his two years. It is a big hole to fill.
Kyle McClancy may be the best returning midfielder for Albany.
McClancey picked up just four goals and 11 assists last season but added 27 groundballs and six caused turnovers to this totals. Fellow returning starter Adam Osika will also be on the first line midfield. It’s unclear who the third starter at midfield will be at this point as Albany has yet to play a game.
Zach Ornstein will be the primary faceoff guy on Saturday. He went 190-342 at the X with a .556 faceoff winning percentage in 2016, good enough for 25th best winning percentage in the country. Against Syracuse in 7-25 in the regular season game but was able to improve in the NCAA Tournament matchup going 12-24 against Ben Williams.
Stone Sims was named a Preseason All-American and he is the most experienced defenseman in the group starting nearly every game in his last two years. It will be interesting to see who he matches up with.
I would expect Erik Dluhy to stand next to Sims on the defensive end. Dluhy started two games last season but was primarily used as a backup. Against Syracuse Dluhy picked up two caused turnovers and two groundballs. I expect Canadian product AJ Kluck to round out the close defense. Kluck has made seven starts while playing in 35 games over the last two years
JD Colarusso will be the starting goaltender for Albany. The Poughquag, NY native is replacing Blaze Riorden, a legend in the net and a tall order to serve up. Colarusso played in 160:00 minutes in his freshman and sophomore years with an 11.25 goals against average and a .444 save percentage, although he redshirted last year.