February 20, 2011

Syracuse Uses Fast Start to Dispatch Denver

from press release

New Syracuse No. 22 JoJo Marasco makes a move on the goal Sunday during the Orange's 13-7 season-opening victory over Denver at the Carrier Dome. Marasco finished with two goals and two assists.

© Greg Wall

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 2 Syracuse (1-0) got off to a fast start and went on to defeat No. 13 Denver (0-1) by the score of 13-7 in the season opener for both teams Sunday, Feb. 20 at the Carrier Dome. The Orange scored six times in the opening quarter and never trailed in winning its 15th consecutive season opener.

Sophomore JoJo Marasco and senior Stephen Keogh had two goals and two assists each to lead the Orange offense. In addition, SU got two goals apiece from redshirt junior Tim Desko and senior midfielders Jovan Miller and Josh Amidon. Junior Tommy Palasek tied his career high with two assists in his SU debut.

"Much like we've had the last few years, we have had different guys step up in different games," SU head coach John Desko said. "Instead of just relying on one person to score five or six goals, we have been able to hurt people with a bunch of guys scoring one, two, or three goals per game. We like to share it, and I think we are pretty unselfish offensively."

The Orange lit up the scoreboard early. Syracuse rattled off four consecutive unassisted goals in the first 8:01, including an interception and transition score by Marasco, to grab a 4-0 advantage over the Pioneers. A goal by Denver's John Zurlo at the 6:49 mark stopped the run. However, as he's done so often in his career, senior Jeremy Thompson won the ensuing faceoff and scored himself six seconds later to reclaim a four-goal lead for the Orange.

At the end of the first quarter, Syracuse led 6-2.

In the second quarter, Denver head coach Bill Tierney slowed the Orange down by going to a zone defense. The strategy paid off as Syracuse only scored once in the period, while the Pioneers struck twice to make it a 7-4 game at halftime.

After converting on just one of its 15 shots in the second quarter, the Orange broke the game open with five goals in the third. Marasco was the catalyst. He had three points in the quarter, scoring once and assisting on back-to-back goals by Miller and Keogh.

While Marasco fueled the Orange offense, the highlight of the quarter was provided by Tim Desko, who took a feed from Palasek and scored behind his back while falling to the ground to give SU a 12-5 lead. The seven-goal advantage was more than enough for the SU defense as the Pioneers never got closer than six the rest of the way.

The Orange dominated the faceoff X, winning 17 of the game's 24 draws, including a career-best 11-for-14 performance by Thompson. During the second and third quarters, Syracuse won 10-of-11 faceoffs to help gain control of the contest. SU's faceoff dominance, along with 15 Denver turnovers, contributed to a 50-26 Orange advantage in shots.

SU senior goalie John Galloway recorded eight saves to earn his 45th victory, tying Cornell's Matt McMonagle for fourth place on the NCAA Division I career wins list. The Orange also received a superb individual defensive effort from senior close defenseman John Lade. Lade held Denver's top offensive threat, Alex Demopoulos, to just one assist. Lade also recovered two ground balls.

"We worked all week long on not ball watching," Lade said. "I just tried to keep my head on a swivel and watch him (Demopoulos) off ball as much as possible. I am surprised how much they didn't give him the ball to dodge because he is one of their best dodgers."

For Denver, Mark Matthews led the way with three points (2g, 1a). Andrew Lay was the only other Pioneer with multiple points. He scored one goal and dished out one assist. Freshman goalie Jamie Faus made his collegiate debut in the cage and finished with 13 saves.

Syracuse is back in action on Sunday, Feb. 27 when it hosts Army at 4 p.m. inside the Carrier Dome. The game is a rematch of last year's first-round NCAA Tournament game won by the Black Knights in double overtime, 9-8. The contest will be televised live on Time Warner Sports.

Game Notes: Syracuse improved to 3-0 all-time against the Pioneers and 16-2 all-time in games played in the month of February ... John Desko is now 13-5 in 18 career matchups with Bill Tierney ... It was the 12th straight game Syracuse held its opponent to fewer than 10 goals ... SU rookie faceoff specialists Chris Daddio (4-6) and Ricky Buhr (2-3) combined to go 6-for-9 at the X in their first college game.


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