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No. 3 Syracuse seems to have survived a minor hiccup, winning three consecutive games after falling, 11-6, to No. 2 Cornell on April 12, and the Orange (12-1) has done so by relying on Tom Palasek.

The junior attackman, who transferred from Johns Hopkins in the offseason, has totaled seven goals and five assists in four starts. Palasek's three-goal, three-assist performance in the team's 12-2 victory over Rutgers on Saturday earned him Big East honors as the Offensive Player of the Week.

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Palasek has been starting because redshirt junior Tim Desko.had an infection in his knee and had to have the knee drained. Coach John Desko said his son could return in a week or two.

Until then, Palasek will join senior Stephen Keogh and sophomore JoJo Marasco as starters, but Desko wouldn't commit to Palasek when Tim Desko is healthy enough to play.

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"I'll just kind of wing it," John Desko said. "Where it has hurt us is, when we had Tommy coming in, he wasn't coming in for Tim or Keogh. He was coming in for Marasco, and we were bumping Marasco into the midfield. So with Tim being out, that really hurt our depth in the midfield, and we've really been searching for that second group in the midfield."

Senior defenseman and Tewaaraton Award candidate John Lade returned after missing just two starts with a high left ankle sprain, and Desko estimated that Lade's ankle is about 95 percent healthy.

"It was good that we got him back against Hobart to run two or three quarters and get him out for that one," Desko said. "So he's pretty close to being 100 percent."

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