Syracuse has traditionally been the best team in New York. But in recent years, Albany has made a strong run at the Orange. In the last two matchups between the two teams, each one went into overtime.
Lyle Thompson leads the nation in points and will look to give SU trouble. The matchup to watch will be Thompson against Syracuse’s top defender, Brandon Mullins.
Earlier this week SU head coach John Desko compared the Great Danes’ offense to spaghetti. He never knows where the ball is going to go and the off-ball movement is constant. Early slides and double teams could be SU’s tactic to stop Thompson, but when other players are open, Thompson uses his top-notch vision to feed others. Albany attacks Connor Fields and Seth Oakes are both in the country’s top-five goals per game. The Great Danes lead Division I with a record pace of 18.38 goals per game.
But despite all of Albany’s eye-popping offensive statistics, Syracuse will be the toughest test the Great Danes face all year.
Though Randy Staats is doubtful for Thursday night’s game, his absence in SU’s loss to Notre Dame was barely felt. Dylan Donahue picked up the scoring with seven goals and Kevin Rice ranks fourth in country in assists per game.
The Great Danes enter the Carrier Dome looking to extend Syracuse’s losing streak to two and Thompson, who grew up about five miles from SU’s campus, could pull one more upset over the team he turned down. But in his way stands Mullins and the rest of the Orange defense that knows what its up against.
The battle of New York will likely be another classic.