February 11, 2011

'Cuse Nips Maryland, Canisius in Scrimmage

from press release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 2 Syracuse concluded its preseason exhibition schedule on Thursday, Feb. 10 with a pair of scrimmage victories at the Carrier Dome. The Orange defeated No. 4 Maryland, 11-9, in the first game and Canisius, 10-6, in the second. Both contests featured four regulation quarters.

The starting attack unit powered the Orange in the opening game. The trio of senior Stephen Keogh (Toronto, Ontario), sophomore JoJo Marasco (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and redshirt junior Tim Desko (Syracuse, N.Y.) combined for 10 points against Maryland. Keogh and Desko each netted three goals. Marasco finished with four points (2g, 2a). Both of Marasco's goals came in the fourth quarter to help the Orange overcome a one-goal deficit at the start of the final period.

"We really practiced this week on moving the ball more and that's what we are going to keep working on," Marasco said after the game. "We are starting to figure out everyone's tendencies on our attack and midfield and we are starting to become more comfortable with one another."

The comfort level between Keogh and Marasco was there right way against the Terps. Marasco hit Keogh twice inside for Syracuse's first two goals, including a behind-the-back tally to open the game's scoring. Desko added an unassisted goal with 4:09 left in the period to give the Orange a 3-1 advantage after the first quarter.

The Terps responded with two goals in the opening three minutes of the second period to tie the score. But senior Josh Amidon (Lafayette, N.Y.) put the Orange in front, 4-3, with an unassisted goal at the 9:03 mark.

The score remained 4-3 early into the third quarter. Senior Jovan Miller (Syracuse, N.Y.) finally broke the scoring drought 3:55 into the second half to push the SU margin to two, 5-3. However, a three-goal Maryland run over the next 2:20 gave the Terps their first lead of the game, 6-5.

With the game tied at seven entering the fourth quarter, Syracuse exploded for three of the period's first four goals. Marasco capped the scoring spurt with a sharp-angle, behind-the-back goal that extended the SU lead to 10-8 with 6:11 left. After Maryland drew to within one, 10-9, with 3:03 to play, Marasco sealed the victory, scoring unassisted with 39 seconds remaining.

Head coach John Desko rested his starters in the second game, electing to go exclusively with reserves against the Golden Griffins, and the result was a four-goal Orange victory. Junior Collin Donahue (Camillus, N.Y.) paced Syracuse with four points, including a team-best three assists. The Orange also received solid offensive contributions from rookies Scott Loy (Toledo, Ohio) and Pat Powderly (Reisterstown, Md.). Loy had two goals and one assist. Powderly scored once and registered two helpers – all in the fourth quarter.

After Canisius' Adam Jones opened the scoring in the game's first minute, Syracuse reeled off five straight goals to take control of the game. Donahue fueled the run, scoring one goal and assisting on two more during the stretch. A Nick LoCoco goal with 7:49 before halftime ended the Orange scoring spree and made the score 5-2.

With Syracuse still leading 7-3, the Griffins got consecutive goals from Travis Gibbons and Jimmy Haney to cut the margin to 7-5 at the 2:46 mark of the third period. That's as close as Canisius got the rest of the way. The Orange outscored the Griffins, 3-1, in the fourth quarter to produce the final score. Powderly was the catalyst, scoring or assisting on all three fourth-quarter SU goals.

Redshirt freshman Matthew Lerman (Villanova, Pa.) played the first half in the cage against Canisius and made three saves. True freshman Ben Levy (Alexandria, Va.) and junior Paul Dubas (New Canaan, Conn.) played the third and fourth quarters, respectively, and had two saves each.

For Canisius, LoCoco led the way with one goal and two assists. Goalie Sean Callahan started and made four saves. Kyle Bell replaced him in the third quarter and had five stops.

After scoring only five goals against Hofstra in the first scrimmage last Saturday, John Desko liked what he saw from the Orange offense Thursday.

"I think the offense executed much better," Desko said. "We need to improve on our shooting a little bit, but we played well. I thought we could have been a little more accurate with it, but the execution was good and I feel a lot better about it."

Syracuse begins the 2011 regular season at home on Sunday, Feb. 20. The Orange will host the Denver Pioneers at 1 p.m. on Time Warner Cable Sports.

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