SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Steven Brooks did it again. A week after the senior sent Syracuse and Virginia to overtime with 28 seconds to play, Brooks found himself in a familiar spot.
Georgetown led Syracuse 8-7 in the final seconds of this afternoon’s contest, and with just two ticks to play, the ball found itself in Brooks’ stick again. Two thoughts ran through his mind.
“Score, Score, Score,” Brooks said. “Please don’t miss, please don’t miss.”
There was never any doubt. Brooks beat Hoya keeper Miles Kass between his legs. Syracuse sent the game into overtime tied at eight.
“I knew there was like at least five seconds left,” Brooks said. “So I knew I had to catch it and fire it and that’s what I did.”
The score was the first goal of the day for Brooks after eight shots prior. But the middie didn’t hold the spotlight for long. Brooks’ line-mate Brendan Loftus had the final say in the game, beating Kass for the fourth time 46 seconds through the second overtime to clinch the win, 9-8.
“We noticed about halfway through the game that he [Kass] was dipping a little bit low,” Loftus said. “So I just tried to take what they gave us. I caught the ball high, in the middle of the field, tried to get a good look at the cage and just tried to stick it high and put it in the back of the net."
It was easier said than done for the Orange offense all day. Kass tallied 19 saves (10 in the first half) to stifle SU’s attack. The ‘Cuse shot 15.7% for the game, scoring just nine goals on 57 shots – an area the Orange admitted needs work heading into next weekends showdown with No. 1 Johns Hopkins.
“It makes me feel good that we were generating some shots,” head coach John Desko said. “There were probably some shots we shouldn’t have taken. But, you’ve got such an emotional, intense game that guys are quick to pull the trigger. It’s good that our offense can generate that amount of shots. Now if we can just shoot a little bit smarter, and hopefully not go against a hot goaltender as we had this week next week, hopefully good things will happen.”
There were moments when the SU offense clicked in high gear. Kenny Nims raised his season total to 11 scores with two second quarter goals – both created off his own effort. Loftus’s four tallies also came of designed plays – each one similar to the last.
“We had set some plays up that we just kept going back to because we thought we were getting some opportunities,” Desko said.
One of those plays involved moving Loftus, with the ball, left to right in front of the cage. The game winner came off that design.
As impressive as SU’s final two goals of the game were, the Orange only held the lead once – at the end of the game. Georgetown jumped to an early 3-0 second quarter advantage on goals from Dan D’Agnes, Scott Kahoe and Andrew Baird. Goals from the Hoya “Big Guns” followed later. Star attack Brendan Cannon finished with a goal and an assist while Andrew Brancaccio found the cage once when the SU defense allowed him the resort to the right hand.
“Brancaccio’s a matter of knowing what hand he is and getting up on it,” Desko said. “The one that he stuck, we let him have his right hand and he’s good at going to his left and coming back to his right. That’s the M-O on him.”
But much of that Hoya attack came before halftime. Dave Urick’s club was only able to muster three scores after the break, and a lot of that drought can be credited to SU’s freshmen net-minder.
“I think I’m going to have some gray hairs pretty soon,” Galloway quipped. “During that first overtime, my heart was beating out of my chest. It was nerve-racking, but it is fun. That is what you play for. That is one of the most exciting game I have ever been involved in and for (Brendan) Loftus to bail us out like that – it is a lot of fun.”
The win moved the Orange to 3-1 on the year with a bout against topped ranked Hopkins still looming.
“I think the character of this team is huge,” said senior captain Mike Leveille. “It totally changed this year and we never felt like we were going to lose this game today. We struggled and they played a tough game, you’ve got to give them credit. We hung in there right until the end.”