February 27, 2011

Syracuse Holds Off Army, Avenges NCAA Loss

from press release

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 2 Syracuse (2-0) jumped in front of No. 18 Army early and turned back a furious rally by the Black Knights to record an 11-9 triumph on Sunday, Feb. 27 at the Carrier Dome. The Orange led 7-0 in the first quarter and 9-3 at halftime. But Army (1-2) closed the gap to 10-9 in the fourth quarter before a goal by senior Jeremy Thompson with 1:06 to play sealed the game.

“Army kept playing like they always do and their goalie (Tom Palesky) came alive for three quarters,” SU head coach John Desko said. “He played a superb game. Fortunately, we came alive at the end of the fourth quarter, made some things happen and forced them to come out and play us and we were able to put a couple more goals in to seal the deal.”

It was Syracuse’s 15th win in the last 17 meetings with Army and the victory avenged a 9-8, double-overtime loss at the hands of the Black Knights in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore JoJo Marasco tied his career high with five points (3g, 2a) for the Orange, including his second career hat trick. Redshirt junior Tim Desko turned in a career performance, finishing with three goals. Thompson and classmate Jovan Miller also scored twice for Syracuse.

Syracuse came out firing on all cylinders early on. The Orange scored three times in the first three minutes and led 7-1 after the first period. It was a dominating quarter by the hosts. Syracuse outshot the Black Knights, 9-1, and won six of the quarter’s nine faceoffs. Marasco and Desko each scored twice in the period. Marasco’s second goal gave the Orange a 7-0 lead at the 3:31 mark. Finally, Garrett Thul converted a man-up chance on the Black Knights’ first shot of the game with 34 seconds to go in the opening stanza to get Army on the scoreboard.

Miller opened the second-quarter scoring with a laser from 12 yards out to extend the lead to 8-1. After tallies by Jeremy Boltus and Thul, Marasco struck again with 2:34 left before halftime to give the hosts six-goal advantage, 9-3, at the intermission.

Marasco’s goal proved to be the last for the Orange until the fourth quarter. Army’s defense stiffened and held Syracuse without a goal for next 26:43. In the meantime, the Black Knights went on a four-goal run to close the gap to 9-7 with 6:35 to go in regulation. Brandon Butler drew Army within five, 9-4, on a transition goal at the 9:18 mark of the third quarter. Pat Brennan, Tyler Kamide and Rob McCallion all followed with goals to pull the Black Knights within two.

Desko finally stopped the Orange scoring drought with 5:51 to play, increasing SU’s advantage to 10-7 with an unassisted goal. But McCallion found the cage himself with 3:26 left, then connected with Thul for a goal at the 2:15 mark to trim the the SU advantage to 10-9.

After Thul cut it to one, Thompson won the next faceoff and the Orange put the ball in Marasco’s stick to take time off the clock. Marasco successfully evaded the Army defense for more than a minute before being trapped by two defenders. He was knocked to the ground, but rolled the ball to Thompson, who scooped it up and scored to push the SU lead to 11-9. Senior Tim Harder won the ensuing faceoff to give possession to the Orange and Syracuse successfully ran out the clock.

“We worked on that in practice and I tried to stay up top so they couldn’t come up and double me and the goalie couldn't come out of the net,” Marasco said of the Orange’s last goal. “I was able to move the ball pretty well and protect my stick, but then they came up and doubled me. I tried to stay on my feet as best as I could and Jeremy was there to help me get the ball in the net.”

Orange senior goalie John Galloway registered nine saves in the contest, including seven in the second half, to record his 46th career win. He is one shy of tying the Syracuse career wins record of 47 held by Jay Pfeifer. Galloway’s nine stops increased his career saves total to 471, passing Alex Rosier (466 saves) for ninth on SU’s all-time list.

Thul led the way with three goals for Army. McCallion and Boltus also recorded three points for the Black Knights. McCallion finished with two goals and one assist, while Boltus contributed one goal and a team-best two assists. Palesky made nine saves in the cage, including six in the second quarter, to help keep Army in the game.

After Syracuse dominated the statistics early, things evened out in the final three quarters. The Orange finished with a 34-28 advantage in shots and a 28-22 edge in ground balls. Syracuse also won 14 of the game’s 23 faceoffs. The Orange was 6-for-8 at the X in the fourth quarter, including the two crucial wins by Thompson and Harder in the final 2:15 that helped secure the victory.

The Orange closes out its three-game homestand on Friday, March 4 when it hosts top-ranked Virginia at 6 p.m. inside the Carrier Dome. The game will be televised live nationally on ESPNU. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance and arrive early to the Dome Friday. A large crowd is expected.

Game Notes: Senior long-stick midfielder Joel White collected three ground balls to move into a tie with Mike Powell for 10th on the SU career list with 211 ground balls … The 2011 campaign marks the fourth straight year Syracuse has started the season 2-0 … The Orange held its 13th consecutive opponent to single-digit goals … Desko improved his career coaching record to 9-2 all-time against the Black Knights.


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