February 22, 2014

Welcome to the ACC: Maryland Routs Syracuse

by Tyler Piccotti| LaxMagazine.comBlog Replay

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – In 2013, faceoffs proved to be the Achilles' heel for Syracuse. Despite a promising turnaround against Albany that suggested things would be different this season, Saturday gave the second-ranked Orange reason to worry.

Maryland's Charlie Raffa dominated Chris Daddio and other Syracuse specialists the entire game, winning 19 faceoffs in the Terrapins' 18-6 rout of the Orange in the Carrier Dome.

After starting slow in the first quarter, Raffa took control in the second. His success sparked an 8-0 run that put Maryland in control for the rest of the game.

"I watched [Daddio] last year a bunch and on film, and I thought he improved a lot and did really well," Raffa said. "I knew it was going to be a battle going in."

A battle the Maryland junior easily won.

The game didn't start well for the Terps, though. Behind goals from four different players, Syracuse jumped out to a 4-2 lead early in the second quarter.

Charlie Raffa won 19 of 26 faceoffs and scored two goals in Maryland's 16-8 win over Syracuse. (Rich Barnes)

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But then Raffa settled in at the "X." Maryland coach John Tillman said once that happened, the game turned in his team's favor.

"Charlie getting some possessions allowed us to take a deep breath and get our feet under us," Tillman said. "We settled in, and I think sometimes coming in here (at the Carrier Dome), getting out of that first quarter is really important."

During the 8-0 spurt, Raffa single-handedly prevented Syracuse from answering at the other end. He forced Daddio into three faceoff violations and repeatedly emerged from the circle with the ball.

On two occasions, he found nothing but open space in front of him and ran unimpeded to the Syracuse net for a goal.

Syracuse coach John Desko said the violations hurt more than anything else. They allowed Raffa to be more aggressive on faceoffs.

"We were battling early on, and then all of a sudden there were a couple violations," Desko said. "Now we're a man down, and we've thrown a little gasoline on the fire."

Likewise, Daddio put himself in a position where he was forced to react to his adversary instead of taking charge in the circle.

"I got caught in a game of catch up, and that's the last thing you want to do against a kid who's better than decent," Daddio said.

The Orange's struggles continued in the second half, as only two draws went in their favor. Desko even tried turning to Mike Iacono, but the Nassau Community College transfer struggled as well. He won just one of four faceoffs.

Raffa had a pretty good day all around. He scooped 11 ground balls, by far the most of any player.

But his success on faceoffs provided the spark Maryland needed to turn the game around. Syracuse clearly isn't fully past its woes from 2013, and the Terps took full advantage.

"Charlie got into a pretty good groove," Tillman said. "Any time you can get possessions, it just allows you to get into a rhythm offensively."

The Terps (3-0, 1-0 ACC) outscored the Orange 14-5 after the first quarter, including a 10-2 margin in the second frame, to hand Syracuse (2-1, 0-1) its first loss of the season and spoil its ACC debut.

Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, will leave the conference for the Big Ten after this season. Connor Cannizzaro of nearby Cazenovia, N.Y. and attackman Jay Carlson both had three goals and one assist. The Terps also got two goals apiece from Matt Rambo, Mike Chanenchuk and Raffa.

Cannizzaro and Rambo are freshmen.

"I thought they handled the pressure of coming into the Carrier Dome extremely well," Desko said. "They had a couple of freshmen running around out there that didn't seem intimidated at all. I thought they played very well and had a good game plan."

Redshirt sophomore Dylan Donahue paced Syracuse with four points, including a career-high three assists. Redshirt junior Henry Schoonmaker notched three goals for his first hat trick of the year.

Syracuse scored two goals on its first three shots and led 3-2 after the first quarter. A man-up tally by senior Derek Maltz at the 12:37 mark of the second period pushed the Syracuse advantage to 4-2.

From there, it was all Maryland.

Game Notes

Staats made his first career start on attack ... After transferring to Syracuse from North Carolina before the 2013 season, Nicky Galasso made his Orange debut in the opening quarter as a member of the man-up unit and second midfield line. Galasso attempted three shots in the game, including one that hit the post ... The loss ends Syracuse's three-game home winning streak ... Maryland's margin of victory was the largest for an Syracuse opponent since 2007 when Johns Hopkins defeated the Orange, 17-9.

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