It pays off to take a step back from time to time to focus.
That’s exactly what the Orange did Thursday in beating the visiting Albany Danes at the dome.
So, what did we learn from the much-needed 13-8 victory? Here are three takeaways.
A momentum builder?
Just five days removed from a humbling defeat to Notre Dame, the Orange needed to handle the Great Danes to gain some traction heading into the homestretch in the competitive ACC. As games against North Carolina, Virginia and Notre Dame loom, the Orange could ill-afford falling for the third straight game.
It may not have been exciting to watch but the Orange prevailed with a gritty defense and “use as much of the clock possible” offense.
“It’s huge to get the win,” said Chase Scanlan, who netted three goals in the victory. “Now, it’s on to the next one.”
Stephen Rehfuss had another strong game by scoring the game’s first two goals and assisting on two other scores.
Brendan Curry contributed with his own three goals.
X-Men bounce back
The faceoff trio, headed by Jakob Phaub, who has been much scrutinized the last two weeks, took care of business by dominating the X to win 15-of-25 faceoffs.
Phaub, who admitted to be in a mental funk after recent losses to the Irish and Duke, took some time earlier this week for a little soul searching.
“It’s good to get the win,” he said. “This was a confidence boost.”
In addition to Phaub, SU rolled out senior Danny Varello and freshman Jack Savage to play keep away from Albany’s freelancing offense.
It was a different story from the previous game when Notre Dame never allowed the Orange offense to find a rhythm. It was a helpless feeling Coach John Desko didn’t want to experience again.
“Tonight we controlled our own destiny,” Desko said afterwards.
Defense steps up
Mitch Wykoff, who is finding his footing as SU’s defensive leader, said Albany’s offensive style was a welcomed change.
“They are physical guys,” the Gettysburg transfer said, “and we were excited to play them.”
Wykoff knows the defense has to step up when the faceoffs don’t favor the Orange.
“Each of us knows we have the potential to be a great defense,” he said. “We are working to get there.”
SU will host North Carolina Saturday, April 17 then hit the road for rematch games against Virginia and Notre Dame to close out the regular season. The home game against Utah, originally scheduled for May 8, has been cancelled. Desko said, because of the timing of the news, it may be difficult to schedule another opponent.