SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Statesmen could only filibuster for so long, as No. 2 Syracuse maintains control of the Kraus-Simmons Trophy for another year. The Orange nailed down Hobart 13-4 inside the Carrier Dome Tuesday night.
It took more than 10 minutes for Syracuse to beat Hobart goalie Max Silberlicht, the nation’s leader in save percentage. SU senior Greg Niewieroski broke the ice with 3:14 left in the first, bulleting a shot through from Silberlicht’s left. A Chris Daniello man-up goal with 12 seconds remaining would send the ‘Cuse to the quarter break up 2-0.
“We wanted to see what their package was going to be against us today,” Orange coach John Desko said. “They stayed fairly consistent with what they’d been doing. We did change the offense going into the second period. We just thought we’d get some better looks.”
And the proverbial flood gates opened in the second, with SU controlling the ball for nearly two thirds of the frame. The Orange loaded up seven goals, taking the quarter’s first seven shots as well. Hobart’s longest of 10 possessions lasted 60 seconds. Four possessions fell under 20 ticks.
It seemed like SU was scoring every which way. Usually defensive minded, midfielder Spence Van Schaak found twine when the defense drifted off him near the top of the box. Josh Amidon fed the senior for his second goal of the season, a rocket from the goalie’s left. Kenny Nims netted one of his two goals wrapping around the doorstep left, only catching a brief look at his target before stuffing the cage. Dan Hardy piled it on with a shot from up top. The senior, galloping above the defense, let fly in stride and beat a sprawling Silberlicht low.
Low was a key for SU, the Hobart keeper noting that he efforted to take away the upstairs part of the net. Silberlicht said the ‘Cuse responded by shooting by his knees.
The offensive change between quarters had the Orange shift among one of their three offensive sets and altered basic things including a single crease look. Silberlicht said it was simpler than that.
“They played really well off ball tonight and they finished really well,” the goalie said. “They were shooting really well tonight, put three or four off the pipes. They just finished the ball all night. They’re great shooters.”
Senior defenseman Ricky Evans said SU slowed its pace a bit in the second frame, taking more time to plan its offense and attack – as opposed to just firing away like he said they did in the first.
“Anytime you switch an offensive set it’s just something else to throw at the defense,” Orange senior Kenny Nims said. “They’ve got to worry about a couple more things. We just try to confuse them as much as possible and when you’ve got as many guys on our team who are capable of scoring it’s going to work out.”
And SU brought its full array of weaponry with eight players scoring. Among a cavalcade of stars it was sophomore Stephen Keogh leading the pack with four goals, including two on the man advantage.
“Every week I think we go over a couple different game plans for if he’s shut off,” Nims said. “Teams usually are not going to be able to shut him off for long. They might start out the game shutting him off, but eventually they’re going to break down and we’re going to find him.”
Nims continued to say that if Syracuse fed Keogh the ball, nine times out of 10 he would bury it. The actual stats were four of six, but either one is enough to catch Hobart coach TW Johnson’s attention.
“They’ve got guys all over the place on offense,” Johnson said, “and with Keogh in particular, he’s not they guy out on the perimeter running by people, but he might have the best shooting percentage in the country. We were certainly very aware of him and respectful of all the guys on offense for Syracuse.”
Another one of the Tuesday standouts was senior Pat Perritt. After struggling to get his bearings for the early part of the season, the captain has come alive recently, scoring twice against Hopkins and two more times against the Statesmen.
“Pat only has one speed and he goes hard all the time,” Desko said. “In the previous games he’s been this close and we’re going to be that much more dangerous if he finds his way here.”
Not to be overshadowed, Syracuse did only allow four goals on 22 shots (compared to the 49 the Orange took). Sid Smith said afterwards that it has been a mission of the ‘Cuse defense to begin earning more notice. The senior said Tuesday’s goal was to push out on the attack and force Hobart into uncomfortable situations. That’s an effort helped by the group’s gelling – a big question mark before the year with John Lade and Matt Tierney filling in for graduated seniors Kyle Guadagnolo and Evan Brady.
“Everyone looks at our team and looks at the offense right away,” Smith said. “That’s how it is at Syracuse. We just talked about putting a name in for the defense. We want people to look at Syracuse and talk about how good the defense is.”
And some of those kudos are already coming through, with offensive teammates doling out the recognition.
“I give a lot of credit to our defense for starting fast breaks and really playing solid,” Keogh said when asked about the team’s strength on his side of the ball. “We’re nothing without our defense.”
The defense went 28 minutes and 36 seconds before allowing Hobart’s first goal with 1:24 to play before halftime. Syracuse plays next this weekend at Loyola. Hobart hosts conference foe Fairfield on Saturday.
ORANGE PEELS – The win for SU makes it 22 of 24 in the Kraus-Simmons trophy era. The battle began in 1986, although the rivalry dates back to 95 total meetings. The last time Hobart captured the crown was in 2006, the year the Orange began 1-4 en route to the Final Four.
“It’s always kind of nice to beat up on them here,” senior Dan Hardy said. “They brought three or four buses of students and to not let them cheer about anything the entire game is nice. The seniors lost to them here our freshman year and it’s not something we really enjoyed doing.”
Hardy called that win the Super Bowl of the Statesmen’s 2006 campaign. The importance of the game was evident on Hobart’s side when players fielded postgame questions, realizing this meeting almost didn’t happen. Remember, last season Hobart announced it was shifting back to a Division III program, a move reversed a week later. It was also a move that would have likely killed the Kraus-Simmons rivalry.
“It’s very special to us as a team, to our campus, to our whole community out in Geneva,” senior attack Jeff Coburn said. “Every year we look forward to this.”
“We also talk a lot about family,” Evans added, “and after going through that week that we had, it really brought us closer together, and not just the team, but also the guys who came before us. We know we’re standing on a lot of good shoulders of a lot of good guys.”
|Kenny Nims||(2, 4)|
|Stephen Keogh||(4, 0)|
|Pat Perritt||(2, 2)|
|Dan Hardy||(1, 2)|
|Greg Niewieroski||(1, 1)|
|Chris Daniello||(1, 0)|
|Josh Amidon||(0, 1)|
|Matt Abbott||(0, 1)|
|Spencer Van Schaack||(1, 0)|
|Tim Desko||(1, 0)|
|John Galloway||8 (0.727)|
|Al Cavalieri||1 (0.500)|