Jordan Evans and Nick Mariano combined for 15 points, tallying career-highs of eight and seven respectively, while Brendan Bomberry (Mohawk) and Nate Solomon each scored four times and Stephen Rehfuss chipped in three of his own to lead Syracuse (1-0) to a resounding 19-6 season-opening win over Siena (0-1).
The win marks the fourth-straight season-opening victory over Siena and moves head coach John Desko‘s mark to 18-1 in openers. The Orange fired 54 shots and won the ground-ball battle 50-20 en route to the 13-goal victory.
Evans’ eight points are the most in a game for a full calendar year since Dylan Donahue put up nine in last year’s season opener against Siena. His total came on three goals and five assists, while Mariano also recorded a hat trick and posted four assists.
“I thought it was a good day for Syracuse today and we got a little better as the day went on,” said head coach John Desko. “We were a little disappointed to give up those goals early, they were easy goals. We left our man on one to get to our matchup and he got an outside shot and we left another player wide open on the crease. I was concerned about that early on, but as the game went on we eliminated those mistakes. You can tell by the ground balls and the clearing stats that the Ensley Center has been great for us these last seasons. I think Siena is on a full field a lot less than we were. I thought we came ready to play, the guys were excited to play and they showed it on the field today.”
It was a nine-goal Orange run spanning from the end of the first quarter to the end of the third quarter was the difference in the game, as Syracuse kept Siena scoreless for a 30:43 stretch. Solomon scored the first three goals of the run, including two in nine seconds to jump-start the Orange attack and added a fourth to end the half. The run took a 4-3 Syracuse advantage and blew the lead open to 13-3 before the Saints would find the back of the net.
Mariano, the Orange’s leading goal scorer from a year ago, picked up where he left off last season, quick-sticking a pass from the team’s returning assist-leader, Sergio Salcido, for the first goal of the game.
After a Siena response less than two minutes later, Bomberry got on the board, cutting down the center of the field and converting on a pass from Evans to put the Orange back ahead.
A Syracuse faceoff violation returned the ball to Siena, on the ensuing restart, but Tyson Bomberry (Mohawk) quickly caused a turnover that led to a break where Mariano assisted to Evans, who capitalized with a midrange shot.
After another Saints’ response from Jordan Barlow, Matt Lane found Brad Voigt in the middle of the field off a faceoff. Voigt finished, giving the Orange a 4-2 lead with 4:35 to play in the quarter.
A quick Siena goal from Joe Arcarese off the faceoff cut the lead back to one, but would be the final goal that the Saints would score until the 3:35 mark in the third quarter.
However, the high-scoring first quarter didn’t end there, as two straight faceoff wins for the Ben Williams and the Orange led to two goals from Solomon, just nine seconds apart from each other. With 3:26 to play in the first, Syracuse took a 6-3 lead.
With 6.4 seconds left in the quarter, Solomon would add one more, giving the sophomore attackman his first-career hat-trick and the Orange a 7-3 lead heading into the game’s second quarter. The assist came from Evans, his second of the day.
With an unnecessary roughness penalty on Saints’ net minder Aaron Lewis, Nick Mariano capitalized on the new goalie and man-up chance to up the lead to 8-3 with 13:23 left before halftime.
Two minutes later, Brendan Bomberry made the play of the afternoon, catching a batted save off a Mariano shot in front of the goal and finishing with a highlight reel behind-the-back goal to extend the lead to six.
After eight minutes of scoreless play, the Orange got back on the board, with Salcido delivering a no-look pass from the behind the net to Evans, cutting down the middle of the field. Collecting the pass in stride, Evans fired by Lewis, giving the Orange a 10 spot with 3:22 to play in the half.
A quickly won faceoff by Williams led to another Syracuse goal 10 seconds later. Williams fed Evans on the left side of the field, who found Solomon on the edge of the crease for his fourth goal of the day. Again, the period would end on a Solomon goal, as Syracuse’s defense would halt an offensive possession from Siena with time winding down in the half.
Both sides failed to score for the first seven minutes out of the locker room, but the drought ended when Evans forced the ball out of a scrambling Lewis’s stick and found Mariano in front of an open net.
The two would connect again on the next Syracuse possession, this time with Mariano feeding Evans for the goal. The goal was Evans’ seventh point of the game, while the sixth for Mariano.
Finally snapping the scoreless drought, Siena cut Syracuse’s lead below 10, as Brian Prunty scored on an assist from Mike Reilly to make it 13-4.
As the low-scoring quarter approached its end, the Orange added one more, with Mariano finding Brendan Bomberry atop the box, pushing the Syracuse lead back to 10 with 49.5 seconds to play in the period.
Williams got on the board to start the game’s final period, winning his 15th faceoff of the day and taking it straight to the cage for his fifth-career goal.
As time ticked away, Stephen Rehfuss added his contribution, scoring three goals in the game’s final six minutes. Two Siena goals and one more from Brendan Bomberry brought the game to a 19-6 final.
Evan Molloy allowed just four goals while making seven saves and earning the win in 42:57 minutes of action, while Dom Madonna stopped three shots, allowing two goals in his Syracuse debut.
Syracuse returns to action next Saturday, playing host to No. 13 Albany at 3 p.m. That game will again be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.