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BALTIMORE, Md. — Following Syracuse’s two-goal win over Hobart, it was unable to escape again against Johns Hopkins. In defensive coordinator Dave Pietramala’s return to Homewood Field, both teams launched themselves into a defensive battle, tied 4-4 at halftime.
Johns Hopkins opened the second half with a 3-1 run, helping it keep the lead until the Orange started to come back in the fourth period. Tucker Dordevic, who caught fire early with two goals in the first half, secured a hat trick in the fourth period to bring SU within one. But a late goal from Jacob Angelus helped secure the Blue Jays’ lead.
Here are some observations from Syracuse’s 10-7 loss to Johns Hopkins:
Dordevic starts hot, ends slow
Alongside Brendan Curry, Dordevic has been a mainstay in Syracuse’s attack over the last few seasons. With Owen Hiltz’s injury before the season, Dordevic has been integral this year with 44 shots heading into Sunday’s game, a mark that’s tied with Curry for the most on the team.
And with Curry only finding the pipe early against the Blue Jays, the Orange’s offense relied on Dordevic even more. Dordevic, who’s usually positioned on the right side of the field, started to take Owen Seebold’s usual position behind the cage. With seven minutes left in the first period, Dordevic went behind the cage and shot. His attempt deflected off goalie Josh Kirson’s helmet and found the back of the net.
In the second period, Dordevic went behind the cage again, this time curling toward the crease. But he spun back to his left, flipping the ball into the back of the net from point-blank range. Dordevic stayed quiet for most of the second period and third, missing from point-blank range after defeating three defenders late in the third period.
With an 8-6 deficit nine minutes into the final period, Dordevic found the back of the net again. Curry had missed on the initial shot attempt of the possession, but Dordevic got the ball on the right side of the field before working one-on-one toward the crease. He got just enough separation for a right hand upper hand strike, bringing the Orange within one.
Johns Hopkins entered the game averaging 17.7 turnovers per game. The Orange were able to force turnovers against the Blue Jays, but they struggled keeping the ball on offense or completing clears.
The possession before he scored, Dordevic rushed down the right side of the field before Beaudan Szuluk launched himself into Dordevic’s body. Dordevic fell to the turf, and Szuluk moved the ball the other way.
Then, after Dami Oladunmoye exited the game following a collision with Joey Epstein, SU was unable to get past the midfield line as Matteo Corsi’s pass was intercepted by Hunter Jaronski. But the Orange ultimately got the ball back and won the turnover battle 21 to 14.
At the end of the second period, Dordevic forced a turnover on the ride, hitting Scott V. Smith’s stick from behind to pop the ball onto the turf. Griffin Cook took the ball, sprinting directly toward the crease before passing to Mikey Berkman. But he missed the next pass to Seebold, instead finding Kirson’s to keep the game at 4-4.
In the third period, both sides continued to play sloppily as Grant Murphy caused a turnover with six minutes left in the third period. Murphy passed to Brett Kennedy, who was on the opposite side of the field, but Murphy was unable to haul it in, resulting in an unsuccessful clear. The Blue Jays scored right after as Garrett Degnon got past Kennedy and found the back of the net.
In the final seconds of the game, Harrison Thompson abandoned the cage again to help the Orange try and force a turnover. But Epstein was left open behind him, scoring to give the Blue Jays a 10-7 lead for the rest of the game.
Changes in goal
So far in 2022, Syracuse has changed who’s been in the cage almost every game. Only Bobby Gavin has played the entirety of two matchups, staying in goal for the entirety of the Orange’s losses to Maryland and Virginia. But he was taken out in the first period against Army for Thompson, who started the game against Hobart and Johns Hopkins, too.
Early against the Blue Jays, Thompson struggled against some of Johns Hopkins’ best players like Epstein. Epstein scored first for the Blue Jays after Thompson kept his attention on Angelus. Angelus passed right to Epstein at the crease, who found the back of the net while Thompson was still turning his attention towards him.
Thompson made up for his earlier mistake, falling to one knee as Degnon launched an underhand attempt from 15 yards out. He caught the ball in his stick, repeating the same play in the final seconds of the first period to stop Degnon again.
But Degnon eventually found the back of the net late in the second period as he was left wide-open following the faceoff. In the third period, Johnathan Peshko secured a hat trick for the second time in his career, scoring on an empty net as Thompson had abandoned the cage to guard Epstein.
Thompson didn’t make a save in the second or third period, only getting his fourth of the evening after a shot from Epstein bounced into his stick.
Up-and-down at the X
Jakob Phaup entered Sunday with a 59.1% faceoff winning percentage, the 18th-best in the country. He took his momentum from a 25-for-38 performance against Hobart into the first period, winning the first faceoff of the game. But Phaup started to get scrappy, earning a faceoff violation on the second faceoff, and one more early in the second period.
After his violation toward the end of the first half, the Blue Jays set up their offense while Phaup was still running off the field. They scored as Degnon was open at the crease, three seconds after their last goal to tie the game at 4-4.
At the start of the second half, Phaup got the ball towards Saam Olexo, who was a part of the faceoff unit on the right side. Olexo wasn’t able to pick up the ball, however, allowing the Blue Jays to get on offense again and take a 5-4 lead. The Orange bounced back, but another Phaup faceoff violation allowed the Blue Jays to move the ball fast to Peshko, who found the back of the net with ease.
Off a pass from Curry, Cook sprinted down the left side of the field toward the cage with three minutes left in the fourth period. But he hit the right post, unable to even the game.
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