Syracuse vs. Princeton
April 7, 2012
The Game Story:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 17 Syracuse (5-4) used a 4-0 run in the third quarter to take its first lead of the game and went on to defeat No. 11 Princeton, 10-9, Saturday, April 7 at the Carrier Dome. The win snapped Princeton’s four-game winning streak and marked the Orange’s third straight victory against the Tigers.

Senior Tommy Palasek led the Orange offense. Palasek tied his career high with four goals, including the game-winner, and passed out one assist to record his second straight five-point game.

Freshman goalie Bobby Wardwell made his college debut and recorded nine saves to pick up the win, ending the Orange’s modest two-game losing streak.

“This was a big game for us, coming off a couple of losses,” SU head coach John Desko said. “In the Duke game, we played very hard for 60 minutes and it was a great effort emotionally for us. We came up short and to put that much effort into a loss is very disconcerting. So for the guys to be able to keep the energy up this week, stay positive and approach the game the same way and to have success, was big for us.”

The turning point of the game came late in the third period. Trailing by two, the Syracuse offense rattled off four goals in the final 1:45 of the quarter to turn a 7-5 deficit into a 9-7 advantage.

Senior Bobby Eilers started the run, and unassisted goals by Palasek and redshirt junior Ryan Barber with 52 and 24 seconds on the clock, respectively, gave Syracuse its first lead of the game at 8-7. Then on the ensuing faceoff, senior Kevin Drew picked up the ground ball, streaked into the box and scored 11 seconds after Barber to push the Orange margin to 9-7.

Princeton (6-3) answered the Syracuse blitzkrieg with a pair of goals to tie the game with 8:56 remaining in regulation. That set the stage for Palasek, who scored an extra-man goal with 4:11 to play that proved to be the winner.

Palasek’s deciding tally was set up by a brilliant pass from redshirt senior Tim Desko, who alertly picked up a loose ball near midfield. Desko took a couple of steps and rifled a 30-yard strike to Palasek in front of the Princeton cage for the score.

The Orange defense did the rest, keeping Princeton off the board for the remainder of the game and forcing a turnover on the Tigers’ last possession, to seal the win.

Mike MacDonald finished with a team-best three points on one goal and two assists for Princeton. Jeff Froccaro and Tom Schreiber contributed two goals apiece.

Princeton also got a superb performance from starting goalie Tyler Fiorito, who made 16 saves, including several on good looks by the Orange. His play helped Princeton gain the early lead and was almost enough to lead the Tigers to victory.

With Fiorito sharp right from the outset, Princeton took a 3-0 advantage on goals by MacDonald, Tucker Shanley and Schreiber in the first eight minutes of the game. Syracuse responded with two goals, but the Tigers notched the last goal of the opening period to claim a 4-2 lead.

Syracuse switched to a zone defense in the second quarter and Wardwell responded by making a pair of saves and allowing just one goal in the period. Fiorito answered with five saves in the quarter for Princeton, but Palasek beat him twice, including a layup off a nice feed from Marasco, to cut the Tigers’ margin to 5-4 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Tigers notched two of the first three goals before Syracuse stole the momentum with its four-goal scoring spurt.

The Orange owned a 40-28 advantage in shots for the game and showed excellent accuracy, putting 26 of its 40 attempts on cage. Syracuse also held a 27-26 margin in ground balls and helped force 19 Princeton turnovers.