Jordan Evans scored four goals and added two assists, and Nick Piroli chipped in four points against his former team, as No. 7 Syracuse finished its preseason with a 12-10 victory over No. 10 Brown.
The Orange had previously defeated Le Moyne 10-1 and fallen to Hofstra 9-8 in exhibition play.
Evans established his dominance early on, as his two quick goals gave the Orange a 2-1 lead. That set the tone early, as Syracuse jumped out to a 6-3 lead after Piroli found Derek DeJoe for a goal early in the second quarter.
The Orange was controlling the pace early, which was “a good sign,” said Syracuse head coach John Desko. “Early in the game, I thought the offense flowed pretty well.”
After Brown scored three unanswered goals to pull within 6-5, Piroli, a graduate transfer student from Brown, notched a goal from a beautiful pass by Evans with 3:24 left in the second to give Cuse a two-goal lead, 7-5, that would carry into the half. Both Piroli and Evans had four points in the first two quarters.
But some of Syracuse’s weaknesses showed in the third period. The offense that had flowed well in the first half was stymied in the second. SU’s defense also had some breakdowns that will “most definitely be brought up during film,” Desko said.
One of the plays that Desko was likely referring to was a play at the end of the third quarter, when Brandon Mullins made a poor pass in front of his own net that resulted in a Brown goal to tie the game up at eight.
But DeJoe started off the fourth quarter with his second goal of the day to give the Orange a 9-8 lead, and three minutes later, Evans scored once again to give Cuse a two-goal advantage to give SU the lead for good.
“I saw a big improvement from last week,” Desko said when asked about Evans. “He really capitalized on some shots today, and it’s good to see him finish strong going into the season.”
The two teams played a fifth quarter for more reps, as well as to get the younger players some experience. The Orange won that 15-minute scrimmage, 3-1.
It was an especially sweet afternoon for Piroli in his first game against his former teammates and coaches. Piroli decided that he wanted to take advantage of his fifth year of eligibility since he couldn’t use the additional year at Brown. (Ivy League rules prevent a fifth year of eligibility.)
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for Syracuse, so to finally get the opportunity is pretty awesome,” Piroli said. “A lot of transfers might end up on bad terms, but that wasn’t the case for me.”
Said Desko: “I think he enjoyed it (the scrimmage against his former team). It was a fun day for him and the Brown team to see each other again. I thought he played well.”
The Orange opens the regular season on Feb. 13 against Siena at the Carrier Dome.