Staats Has Career Day in Syracuse Rout of Cornell
In-Game Blog Replay
|A nine point night from JUCO transfer Randy Staats helped Syracuse earn a huge win over Cornell on the road. (Greg Wall)|
Ithaca, N.Y. – Syracuse attack Randy Staats found out he would replace usual starter Derek Maltz only minutes before he and the Orange took the field against long-standing rival Cornell on Tuesday night.
Luckily for head coach John Desko, the Onondaga Community College transfer validated the late switch by exploding for his best game of the season.
The junior toyed with Cornell on offense, lighting up the Big Red for five goals and four helpers in a convincing 14-9 victory in front of 2,690 fans at Schoellkopf Field. Using an array of cuts and dekes around the Cornell cage, Staats harassed defenders Marshall Peters and Jordan Stevens the entire night. His nine points marked his best effort since netting five goals against Albany on Feb. 16.
"I just want to help the team win and contribute any way I can," Staats said. "I was lucky enough to get that many points tonight."
During the first half, Staats assumed the role of facilitator and found teammate Kevin Rice on two quick assists to help the Orange jump out to a 4-1 advantage.
But after the Big Red rallied to cut the deficit to one by halftime, Staats rekindled his dangerous scoring touch. He scored all five of his goals in the second half to help Syracuse steadily pull away.
The highest degree of difficulty came on his third tally. As Staats tried bulling past a Cornell defender, the ball popped out of his stick and into the air. Rather than panic, he finished his move and caught the ball before sending a sidewinding bullet past a helpless Christian Knight with 11:13 remaining in the final quarter.
"He caught my stick and I'd seen him go for it," Staats explained. "Luckily, I just caught and shot."
Although Rice happened to miss the highlight-reel goal, he said the Orange sees plenty of them in practice courtesy of the Ontario native. He added that Staats is ready to bust loose after feeling his way through the first portion of the season.
"The first couple weeks he was here, he just had to figure out where he likes to be," Rice said. "It's nice playing with him because you know if you find him, you can start celebrating before he scores. He never misses."
For a team that struggles at the faceoff X as often as Syracuse, that offensive prowess can potentially be the key spark in another postseason push.
Desko explained that Staats is currently healthier than he has been at any point during the recent weeks. Now, he can be a game-changer for the SU offense, something he proved against an aggressive Cornell defense.
"Randy had been hurt a few weeks ago, and we feel that he's 100 percent now," Desko said. "To get those goals at the end of the game was huge for us."
Although he was happy to have such a productive game, the junior was happier to help Syracuse bolster its tournament résumé with a signature win. With only three regular-season games remaining, he said it was nice to see the Orange clicking on all cylinders.
"Really, it's just my teammates finding me open and us finding the opening seams," Staats said. "We all just played as a team tonight, and it was a very good team win all around."
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