Speaking of undefeated teams, UVA has already snuck in five games early this season and is 5-0. Their first three games were all one goal wins over Loyola, Richmond, and Drexel. Nothing overly impressive…even shaky at times.
Mark Cockerton leads the scoring for the Cavaliers with 24 points (18G, 6A), followed by James Pannell with 19 (15G, 4A), and Owen VanArsdale with 18 (6G, 12A). Virginia has only won 46% of the face-offs, and has been struggling on defense. Goalie Matt Barrett has 53 goals against vs 49 saves (Save percentage 48%).
Syracuse is 2-1 with a win over Siena, an OT win over Albany, and a big loss to MD (8-16).
Syracuse offense is led by Dylan Donahue with 17 points (12G, 5A), Kevin Rice with 13 (2G, 11A), and Randy Staats with 12(7G, 5A). Overall SU’s face-off situation doesn’t seem so bleak at 52% on the year, until you break down the Maryland game in particular…more on that later.
On defense, Lamolinara/Wardwell continue to split time, and their stats are marginally different. Lamolinara has 49% Save percentage vs Wardwell’s 58%. One shining light has been on man-down, as opponents have only converted 4 of 16 chances (25%).
This is a test game for each team. UVA has the Ws, but has not looked solid. Syracuse was exposed against Maryland. Maryland outshot Syracuse 55-32, as they controlled the tempo and flow of the game in part by winning 70% of the face-offs, and outhustled SU winning 36 groundballs to SU’s 17. As the game went on things only got worse as SU became impatient on offense, and tired on defense.
This game is really going to come down to midfield. Even if SU loses the face-offs, will their mid lines be able to out hustle and create enough opportunities for the Orange. They have the ability to score on attack. They just need to get the ball and not feel the need to force the issue.
I think since UVA is not as dominant on face-offs and this little bit of extra breathing room gives the Orange a chance to compose themselves. SU by 1.