SU makes final statement in 17-5 dismantling of Colgate prior to Selection Sunday

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ With just more than six minutes remaining, goalie Dom Madonna darted for the Syracuse bench. The Orange led by eight and had never trailed. As backup Drake Porter replaced the senior, freshman Jacob Buttermore, who has rarely played all season, found the back of the net and gave SU a nine-goal lead. He netted a hat trick before the day was over.For the first time since its season opener, Syracuse put in its reserves. The Orange didn’t have to worry about the possibility of yet another nonconference loss.In its regular-season finale, entering the matchup one-game above .500, Syracuse needed to end on a high note. The Orange had sat on the bubble after late losses to Navy and Virginia, combining for three losses in its last four games. With each loss, the margin of making the NCAA tournament thinned. But on Saturday afternoon, No. 12 SU (8-6, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) struck first and dominated throughout, making a statement in its 17-5 win over unranked Colgate (7-8, 3-5 Patriot) on Senior Day inside the Carrier Dome. After completing the third-hardest schedule two games over .500, the win all but likely secured the Orange a spot in the NCAA tournament come selection Sunday.“I said right from the first press conference,” SU head coach John Desko said. “‘What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.’ When you play a schedule like that, you’re playing against a tiger every week and to be able to compete and win against those teams, it helps you get better.”Right from the start of the game, Syracuse dominated. David Lipka opened with a fake left before dodging down the right alley. His defender sagged off him and he fired top shelf. Syracuse scored five more times before Colgate even had one point to its name. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textColgate scored its first goal of the game nearly 22 minutes into the contest. Joe Delaney dodged right before winding up and beating Dom Madonna top shelf. He celebrated in front of the net, but the Raiders needed more from its offense. Syracuse already had a five-goal lead over a nonconference opponent, a relatively unfamiliar situation.SU had shelled Binghamton and breezed by Hobart. But its only ranked win had come in triple overtime against Army, a team that has since struggled mightily and sits two games under .500.The Orange had been manhandled at home by both Albany and Johns Hopkins, losing by a combined 23 goals. In close nonconference games, its youthful offense and struggles at the faceoff X had held the Orange back. A season-worst 22 turnovers against Rutgers led to a four-goal loss. Cornell dominated possession in a five-goal win, and Navy pulled away late in a last-second win, scoring two goals in the final minute of play to down the Orange.Everything that could’ve possibly gone wrong for Syracuse happened, and a possibility of not making the tournament existed had SU fallen to Colgate.Colgate had its opportunities on offense. It led the shot battle by one at the end of the first quarter, yet trailed, 4-0. At the end of the first half, it had only been outshot by two and tied the faceoff battle 5-5. The third quarter, Colgate regained the shots lead and still remained tied at the faceoff X. On multiple instances, its midfielders beat SU’s short sticks and created enough space for an open shot. When SU led, 3-0, Nicky Petkevich beat Dami Oladunmoye before being struck by a sliding Austin Fusco, the shot flying out of bounds. Other times, Colgate’s shots were stopped at point-blank range by Madonna. “Austin Fusco said before we went on the field, ‘Nothing’s going to be given to you,’” Madonna said. “’So step on the field and go take it today.’ That was my mind set.”By the end of the first quarter, Colgate turned the ball over seven times. The Raiders’ offense struggled to pass the ball around and the defense took advantage, pushing transition. It wasn’t until the third quarter when Syracuse committed its seventh turnover on offense. The Orange offense began to flow, like it had in its conference games earlier this season. Rehfuss added three assists, capping the first half with a pass to a cutting Pat Carlin, all alone in front of the net. After scoring just once in the past four games, Jamie Trimboli scored a hat trick on four shots. Everything began clicking.Twenty-one seconds into the second half, however, Colgate quickly won a faceoff and found the back of the net. Its offensive aggression kept mounting. After Trimboli’s hat trick, Colgate won the ensuing faceoff and ripped off four shots. Each went wide and its possession ended up in a turnover caused by Nick Mellen. Colgate had the opportunity to shift momentum early, but like the first half, it was stuffed by the Orange defense. Matt Lane scored just over a minute later. “If you’re a competitor, and you know all these kids are, and you know your backs against the wall and you don’t want to be the class that doesn’t make it to the NCAA tournament,” Colgate head coach Mike Murphy said, “… I’m sure that they were playing with some motivation besides just beating Colgate. It was to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.”The second half remained back-and-forth, with the two teams exchanging goals on multiple occasions. Colgate had a double man-up opportunity and scored in the final second before the penalty was released. Syracuse then responded with a man-up goal of its own. SU finished with three man-up goals, tying a season high. The extra-man unit had only converted on 37 percent of its opportunities to date. On Saturday, it converted at a 75 percent clip, and the only time it failed to finish, Stephen Rehfuss found Bomberry open in front of the net before the Colgate defense could adjust — just seconds after the penalty was killed.After Colgate opened the fourth quarter with a goal, the following faceoff fell in favor of the Orange. A scrum by Colgate’s goal ended up in Bradley Voigt’s stick. He quickly flicked the ball to Brendan Bomberry who found long-stick midfielder Austin Fusco up top. Fusco wound up and shot, beating Mullen.Fusco broke into a scream and pounded his feet into the ground. The players on the attacking third mobbed him before Bomberry came running over and jumped onto the redshirt junior. Fusco broke out of the mob, still screaming and pumping his fists.“We were treating it like a playoff game because if we lose,” Madonna said, “we’re not going to make the tournament for sure.”In a game Syracuse so desperately needed a win, it played a near-flawless game. SU did its job and now, all the Orange can do is wait. Comments Published on May 5, 2018 at 4:22 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturcolast_img

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