first_img Published on February 10, 2018 at 4:39 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Facebook Twitter Google+ Binghamton’s defense needed a break. In less than 15 minutes, Syracuse had scored seven-straight goals and its offense held possession for nearly the entire first quarter. Danny Varello jogged out to the faceoff X, bent over and readied for the whistle.Varello had won six of seven faceoffs to start the game. Along with his wing play, Varello was able to get the ball to the offense quick to score just as fast. The sequence then repeated.As the whistle blew, Varello clamped and quickly freed the ball. Wing Luke Schwasnick picked up the ground ball and, not 30 seconds later, Stephen Rehfuss scored to put the Orange up eight.“He dominated,” Binghamton head coach Kevin McKeown said. “It’s tough to win a ball game when you don’t have the ball.”In his first-ever start, the sophomore Varello found instant success at the faceoff X. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound faceoff specialist finished the game 15-for-17, nearly a 90 percent success rate. His ability to win possession was crucial in No. 11 Syracuse’s 13-0 run to open the game and eventual 21-4 win over Binghamton (0-1) on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. Without two-time Tewaaraton Nominee Ben Williams, Varello must fill the shoes of the best faceoff specialist in Syracuse (1-0) history. And on Saturday, the sophomore did just that.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Danny was quick to get on the ball and got it out,” SU head coach John Desko said. “… (His wings) got a few when there was a scrum for the ball. It showed in the ground ball stats.”Last year, Syracuse escaped with a one-goal victory over Binghamton. It was a game in which the Bearcats had no blatant problems. BU’s faceoff specialist, Austin Macchi, had won 12-of-20 against the then-senior Williams.Despite his success against Williams, Macchi showed no signs of his last-year self on Saturday. He won just 3-of-15 faceoffs and only once did he beat Varello. When Desko opted for senior Seth DeLisle instead of Varello, the faceoff woes continued for Binghamton. SU’s duo combined for 15 faceoff wins in the first half and lost just twice.To open the game, Varello and Macchi lined up at the faceoff X. The ball bounced in favor of Binghamton. But as soon as Macchi tried picking up the loose ball, he was met with a hit from Varello. The ball was freed and Syracuse recovered the ground ball. Not two minutes later, Jamie Trimboli scored SU’s first goal of the game.“I can’t not recognize my wings today,” Varello said. “If you think about it, there weren’t that many clean faceoffs. There were a lot of loose balls.”Syracuse recovered 27 ground balls to Binghamton’s five in the first half, many of which came from scrums after the faceoffs. Schwasnick, one of the team’s starting wings, recovered three ground balls and Varello added nine in that frame.In the third quarter, the other starting wing, Austin Fusco, added one of his own. In total, SU picked up 30 more ground balls than Binghamton, and even held the Bearcats to just one in the first and fourth quarters.Varello is a different faceoff specialist than Williams. He uses more power while Williams is more technical.  But Desko noted that Varello may have quicker hands than Williams, who is a former All-American and Syracuse’s all-time faceoffs leader.Those quick hands led to early success for Varello. Even with the addition of former Syracuse short-stick defensive midfielder Paolo Ciferri, who played with Varello last year, to the Binghamton staff this year, there seemed to be no answers to stopping the sophomore.“That wears on you physically and mentally,” McKeown said. “When you have to keep running out there and you don’t get a break, like we didn’t, especially in the first half, it can be very tough.”Before the third quarter came to an end, Desko subbed out his starting faceoff specialist, who would not return the rest of the game. Desko had cycled DeLisle in earlier and was now giving Nick Martin a few opportunities at the faceoff X.But the damage had been done. Syracuse had a 13-goal lead with just under 23 minutes left to play.“It’s different this year,” Varello said. “There’s a little more pressure on me, so I think my role is a little more important than last year.”“But it’s nothing I can’t handle.”And on Saturday, Varello made that known. Commentslast_img