The eighth-ranked Orange dominated Binghamton from start to finish in an easy 13-5 victory.
Graduate transfer Nick Mariano led the charge for Syracuse scoring four goals and registering an assist as well. Mariano said he was just taking advantage of opportunities created by his teammates drawing slides.
Mariano now has 29 goals on the season, which leads the team. Even he is surprised by his level of success.
“I did some drills with Dylan [Donahue] during the summer to prepare for this,” he said. “The movement in the offense really allows me get more opportunities.”
Mariano’s success was not all the fault of Binghamton goalie Tanner Cousens though. The Bearcats’ netminder rejected 14 shots on the night, including a few that were at point blank range.
“He made some good saves,” Syracuse coach John Desko said. “It was a solid performance. We took 42 shots and got 13 by him though.”
The Syracuse defense as a whole was stellar and much of that can be attributed to Branden Mullins. The senior defender blocked multiple shots in the first quarter, which set the tone for the rest of the game. SU shut out the Bearcats until the middle of the third quarter.
“We weren’t looking past this game,” senior attacker Dylan Donahue said.
Syracuse dominated until late in the third quarter when it became clear that Desko clearly had his mind on the looming ACC tournament. He started to rest some starters and mix things up, including two switches in net.
“There was a touch of fatigue,” he said. “Playing four games in 14 days was tough. We got some other guys in there tonight.”
Even in a dominant victory there were some flaws. Just about everyone was positioned around the block S fighting for a ground ball late in the fourth quarter when Syracuse had three fouls called against it.
The ensuing possession saw SU play three men down. Binghamton naturally scored an inconsequential goal, but the sight was bizarre as the Syracuse defenders frantically ran around.
Desko also said that FOGO Ben Williams was fine after taking a big hit late in the game and failing to return. Williams scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday night.
Looking ahead, the Orange has a much needed rest before the start of the ACC tournament next Friday.
“We had some momentum from UNC coming into this game,” Mullins said. “I think we will continue into ACCs.”
SU will leave Thursday for Kennesaw, Georgia, where the ACC Tournament is hosted. Syracuse’s opponent has yet to be determined.
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