Needing a few stops in the third quarter, the UAlbany defense got some.
No. 9-ranked Syracuse was able to keep UAlbany at arm’s length in part because of two goals just as the Great Danes were on the verge of forcing a shot clock violation, and the Orange defense did its part by shutting down the Great Danes in the second half on the way to a 13-8 victory at the Carrier Dome on Thursday.
UAlbany (5-3 overall) was within 11-8 late in the third quarter and had a chance to get the ball back as Syracuse’s shot clock wound down, but Chase Scanlan scored his third goal of the game as it expired.
The Orange (5-3) only scored one in the fourth quarter, but held UAlbany without a goal.
“Defensively, we did a super, super job against a very athletic and very talented offense,” UAlbany head coach Scott Marr said.
“They got some good bounces their way that turned into goals that separated us a little bit, but I thought we did an outstanding job on defense.”
Shaker High graduate Stephen Rehfuss had two goals and two assists for the Orange, all in the first half, including an assist on a goal by Niskayuna graduate Lucas Quinn to give Syracuse a 5-4 lead in the second quarter.
The Great Danes were in range at halftime, down 8-5, but the Orange outscored UAlbany 3-1 in the first 8:39 of the third quarter, starting with a behind-the-back flip by Griffin Cook when he was able to scoop up a loose ball that was bouncing a foot from UAlbany goalie Liam Donnelly’s stick.
The 3-1 run was capped by a low shot from Tucker Dordevic with two seconds left on the shot clock for an 11-6 lead.
On the other goal late in the clock, Scanlan was able to swing past Doug Goldsmith and get off a shot before anyone else could apply a check.
“We talked about it. It’s getting late in the clock, and we need to do a better job of getting guys down inside of 10 yards and being ready to slide in those situations,” Marr said. “The second one, with Scanlan, I thought Doug did a great job of playing defense against him and pushing him underneath. We just weren’t ready to slide. Those kill. You play defense that whole time, then to give one up as the clock runs out, that’s a tough one to handle.”
Besides the 1-0 score in the fourth quarter, Syracuse was able to neutralize the Great Danes’ playmaker, Jakob Patterson.
He managed just one assist.
“Jakob comes in as our best player, our ball carrier,” Marr said. “Again, he had some good looks and the ball doesn’t go in for him. The kid did a nice job of defense on him, and if you noticed, too, they slid from behind him a lot and didn’t allow him to get up to the island and kind of sit there and make some reads and stuff. They double-teamed him pretty quickly, so the ball got out of his stick. But, you know … give them credit.”
UAlbany was outshot 50-30, and Syracuse had a 42-25 advantage in ground balls.
Donnelly finished with 14 saves.
The Orange had been struggling at the faceoff X in recent games, but won 15 of 25 against UAlbany.
“Our transition game was as good as any,” Marr said. “We’ve just got to execute a little better on offense, but we’ll get there. We didn’t stop playing, and we were in that game in the fourth quarter, and that’s where we wanted to be.
“We struggled to execute our offense. We had chances. We had some shots in the fourth quarter and don’t bury them. We shot some sidearm stuff and some high-to-high stuff, which we talked about not doing, but we did. Kyle Casey came through the middle right on the doorstep and shot it wide. That could’ve been a big one, it was still 12-8. We didn’t shoot the ball well in the fourth quarter.”
UAlbany 1 4 3 0 — 8
Syracuse 3-5-4-1 — 13
UAlbany scoring: Casey 0-1, Yunker 1-0, Patterson 0-1, Burgmaster 2-1, John 2-0, Ramirez 0-2, Hogg 2-2, Piseno 1-0. Syracuse scoring: Cook 1-0, Trimboli 0-1, Seebold 0-1, Curry 3-0, Scanlan 3-1, Dordevic 1-1, Quinn 1-0, Rehfuss 2-2, Buttermore 1-0, Hiltz 1-0.
Goalies: UAlbany, Donnelly, 14 saves. Syracuse, Porter, 12 saves.