Williams wins 21-of-25 at faceoff X, propels Syracuse to 12-9 win over Army at home

first_imgIt didn’t take Ben Williams long before he knew he could take advantage of Alex Daly.The Army faceoff man was called for a violation before a second even elapsed in the first quarter and the same happened to begin the second. At that point, Williams was already 8-for-8 from the X and exploiting Daly’s evident weakness.“Whenever anybody gets two violations, they obviously can’t be as aggressive,” Williams said.The Syracuse faceoff specialist won all 11 draws in the first half, a program record for most faceoffs won without a loss to start a single game. And though Williams didn’t stay perfect in the second half, he gave SU security at a position that was vital in a game when Army and Syracuse were never separated by more than three goals.The No. 3 Orange (3-0) bent, but didn’t break against the No. 15 Black Knights (3-1), and earned enough possessions courtesy of Williams — who won 21-of-25 faceoffs overall, against three different opponents — to squeeze out a 12-9 win in front of 2,561 in the Carrier Dome on Sunday night.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I thought Williams was certainly the MVP of the game, played terrific and gave them a lot of opportunities,” Army head coach Joe Alberici said. “It did seem to me that in the vast majority, he had his stick over the ball before we did.”After John Glesener scored to pull Army within one late in the second quarter, Alberici pitted faceoff man Dan Grabher against Williams to try and reverse his team’s fortunes at the X.The whistle sounded on the ensuing faceoff and Williams and Grabher did three rotations with their shoulders pressed up against each other, the ball lodged in between their sticks.The ball eventually popped out 5 yards away and Williams was there to corral it on his own.“He was beating us to the clamp and he did a good job with some pressure ground balls he came up with,” Alberici said. “It was a pretty physical faceoff and he held up to the test.”But just more than a minute later, A.J. Canara tied the game for the visitors and the Army bench emptied several yards onto the field in celebration. On the next SU possession, head coach John Desko called a timeout and SU midfielder Paolo Ciferri — who had just gained possession — threw his hands up in the air at his own sideline.The frustration was tangible, as Desko too threw his arms in disgust at a call made by the referee, and SU was in need of a cushion. The lead changed three times over the next nine minutes of game time, and with 8:35 remaining in the third the score was knotted at seven.But Williams won the ensuing faceoff, and the Orange put three more in the back of the net for a 10-7 advantage before the quarter ended.“Obviously the faceoffs helped quite a bit with Ben,” Desko said. “Another great job for us, giving us all those possessions.”Williams credited his wings for assisting him when he couldn’t win a faceoff cleanly on his own.Whether it was Mike Messina, Scott Firman, Peter Macartney or Ciferri as the two on the wings, SU’s three-man faceoff unit provided a response every time Army inched closer.But when Kevin Rice slotted the ball into an empty net to give the hosts a three-goal lead with a minute left, the Black Knights couldn’t get any closer.Williams lost the ensuing faceoff, and it’d be the last one he’d take in the game. But at that point, it didn’t matter.“To take I believe all 25 of them, that speaks well to his stamina,” Alberici said. “Like I said, tip my hat to him. I think he certainly was the most valuable player for Syracuse tonight.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 22, 2015 at 9:21 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img

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