There would be no early exit this year for the Orange. One year after a shocking 9-8 double overtime loss to Army in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Syracuse had no problems in this year’s first round, defeating Siena 10-4.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Syracuse (15-1) outshot the Saints (13-5) 51-22, but Siena was down just 4-2 at halftime. There were a lot of reasons for it. First, Syracuse was misfiring on a many of those 51 shots. Part of that was because Siena, like so many other teams this season, used a zone defense in an attempt to slow the Orange defense down. Finally, even when SU was able to get quality shots off, goalie Tom Morr would stop them (19 saves, to be exact). But the Orange scored four unanswered goals, and SU put the game out of reach from there.
WHAT IT MEANS: Despite the poor shooting for the Orange, there were many good signs for Syracuse. It once again handled a zone defense and played some outstanding defense of its own, particularly John Lade. The All-American defender once again played shut-down defense, holding Bryan Neufeld scoreless for the first time in his career, snapping a 52-game scoring streak. Neufeld only managed one shot the whole game. As for the Saints, it was a disappointing end to the best season in school history. Siena notched 13 wins this season, and was ranked (No. 20) for the first time ever.
STAR GAZING: Tom Palasek had a goal and four assists, while JoJo Marasco had three goals.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will play Maryland, who defeated North Carolina, 13-6, earlier in the day. The second round will be next weekend in Foxborough, Mass.