In a reversal of fortune, pre-season front-runner, Syracuse is limping through the season, while Cornell overlooked by many comes into this came looking like they could be Baltimore bound in May.
Syracuse enters this game 6-3 with wins over Notre Dame, Hopkins, and Albany. The Orange have lost to Maryland, Virginia, and Duke. In their last game, Syracuse just barely beat Binghamton 10-8 in a weak performance.
Syracuse’s play has been like the girl from the exorcist. All cute and good one minute…a demon spawn the next. Against Hopkins and Albany, they looked great. Against Virginia, Maryland, Duke, Binghamton they were just painful to watch.
The key for Syracuse isn’t Face-Offs. They will get schooled. At this point, Syracuse has their heads in the sand on this issue.
What Syracuse has done well on their good wins has been team defense. Sliding correctly and on time, playing aggressive, and not waiting for the ball to come to them. Without FaceOff wins, and a lack of possessions, the defense is important because Syracuse is being outshot by an average of 9 shots per game. They will have their hands full facing Cornell’s offense.
Cornell is 9-1 with wins over Virginia, Yale, Colgate, Penn, and a loss to unranked Harvard.
Before the loss to Harvard, the only time Cornell really struggled was against Michigan and ended up with a 15-14 OT win.
Their offense is 2nd in scoring with 14.3 goals per game, with Dan Litner 4th in the nation in goals scored (33).
The loss to Harvard could be called a fluke. Cornell couldn’t win the face offs and couldn’t get their offense going, their defense looked a little slow. In net, Chris Knight did all he could, stopping 50% of the 28 shots on goal he faced.
Both teams have great offenses. At attack, Syracuse’s talent and depth is unrivaled if and when they get the ball. Cornell’s attack has been efficient. Where the big + is for Cornell is their midfield and defense. Both as individuals and as a unit, Cornell’s work on the defensive side of the field combined with Face Off possessions should stifle the Orange offense.
Cornell wins this one by 4.