Jan 06, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In a nine-day stretch, the Syracuse Cougars ice hockey team played five games, waded through two tournaments and nearly upset both of the streaking sides atop Division I East before settling for overtime defeats.
It all began when the Cougars ventured east to the Rome Free Academy Tournament on Dec. 28-29, bent on its own major conquest.
And the Cougars nearly got it in the opening round against the same RFA team that West Genesee lost to a week earlier, pushing the Black Knights to overtime before taking a bitter 4-3 defeat.
What made it more frustrating was the way Syracuse rallied in the latter stages of regulation. Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Cougars got a pair of clutch goals to tie it, 3-3, and Jim Albright turned away RFA shots on his way to 30 saves for the night.
But the Black Knights got the OT goal that mattered, and Syracuse had to take a tough defeat. Collin Thompson, with two goals, and Jared Ristoff, with one goal and one assist, led the rally as Travis Hyde, Ben Walsh, Sean Eccles, Liam Barry and Mark Purcell all got assists, too. Drew DeBlasis led RFA with two goals and one assist.
In the consolation game that followed, Syracuse beat Brookfield 2-1. Back home at Meachem Rink on Wednesday, Syracuse stumbled again, taking a 9-2 defeat to Cicero-North Syracuse, who extended its own win streak to eight games.
C-NS needed just 3:24 to move in front as Jesse Farabee scored. Then Eric Hamilton dealt a big blow when he notched back-to-back goals just 42 seconds apart to make it 3-0.
Two more goals early in the second period made it 5-0 before Syracuse finally got on the board with Matt Thompson’s goal. That didn’t deter C-NS much, though, as Farabee answered a minute later, fed by Hamilton, to earn his third goal and a hat trick.
It was 7-1 going into the third period, and the Northstars would continue to add to the margin. Farabee would have two assists to go with his three goals, matching the point total of Hamilton, who had two goals and three assists. Hyde had Syracuse’s other goal.
This only added to the Cougars’ motivation as it went to C-NS’s home ice, the Cicero Twin Rinks, for the Northstars’ annual Optimist Tournament.
Syracuse shut out Ithaca 4-0 in last Friday’s opening round. Neither side scored until the second period, when the Cougars grabbed a 2-0 lead on the Little Red, doubling that margin in the final period and playing superb defense, holding Ithaca to 10 shots, all stopped by Albright.
Offensively, Eccles, with a goal and two assists, led the way as Thompson found the net twice. Mitch Laffin earned the other goal. Ristoff picked up a pair of assists as Ben Carrock and Brandon Devendorf got one assist apiece.
This set up a rematch with C-NS, who had bashed Greece 11-3 in the other part of the opening round. Somehow, the Cougars nearly avenged that one-sided defeat at Meachem, dragging the Northstars to overtime before absorbing a 6-5 defeat.
A fast-paced first period saw the Northstars go in front, 3-2, but it could not hold the lead. Syracuse fought back, tying it 4-4 by the time they reached the second intermission.
After a tense third-period exchange of goals, it went into overtime. And it was Matt Siegel emerging as the OT hero, flashing open and, after taking a pass from Chris Schneid, flinging the game-winner past Albright.
For the game, Albright produced 35 saves. Hyde (two goals, one assist) and Pat Farrell (one goal, two assists) led a well-balanced Syracuse attack. Barry and Matt Thompson had the other goals, while Cameron Bennett managed a pair of assists. Ristoff and Eccles had one assist apiece.
Tied for third in a tight Division I West race, Syracuse heads back into league play this week with yet another trip to the Twin Rinks, this time to face Central Square on Wednesday before hosting Ontario Bay on Friday.