SYRACUSE, N.Y.—The Upstate New York rivalry between Cornell and Syracuse erupted into a barnburner Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. In front of an enthusiastic crowd the two teams combined for thirty goals. Behind junior Joe Boulukos’s seven-goal effort, the Big Red got their first win in Syracuse since 1987.
Syracuse sophomore Danny Brennan got the hot hand with faceoffs early. He won the opening face, and dominated for the rest of the half. Once the Orange had the ball it didn’t take them long to settle in on offense. Senior Jarett Park dumped the ball over to sophomore Steven Brooks who was able to set and stick the top off-stick side corner before the defense could slide to him. Cornell sophomore goalie Matt McMonalge made a good save on a shot between his legs, but Park was able to grab the rebound and get off a shot out of the mess in front of the cage, giving Syracuse a two goal lead.
Boulukos netted Cornell’s first goal. Orange sophomore Steven Panarelli leaned in on Boulukos and tried a take away check, expecting a slide to come, but none did, and Boulukos rolled around him and scored on a bounce shot. Panarelli redeemed himself some by grabbing a loose ball and getting a pass over to Park. Park used his wheels to get up field, drive around the cage, and get a pass to junior Brett Bucktooth on the backside wing, who ripped a low burner for the Orange’s third goal. Brooks added another, sweeping down from the top of the box, getting an edge under his defender and tucking a goal into the stick-side top corner. Cornell got another before the end of the quarter when senior defenseman Kyle Georgalas carried the ball over midfield on a clear and bulleted a pass to junior Derek Haswell sitting on crease, who punched it in for a goal.
Syracuse won the opening faceoff of the second quarter and Park grabbed the grounder and attempted to run or swim-move over everyone in his way, but instead drew a 30 second holding penalty on Cornell sophomore Mitch Belisle. On the ensuing penalty junior Greg Rommel and Brooks rotated spots, and then Rommel dumped back to Brooks, who uncorked his shot for the man-up goal.
Boulukos answered again when he drove hard on senior Scott Ditzell, got the edge underneath him, and just stopped and ripped a shot that pinged the pipe and got the top off-stick side corner. But Syracuse got their three goal lead back in seven seconds when Park grabbed the ball from the face, motored down field, and executed a textbook fast break by assisting Bucktooth who scored on almost the exact same shot that Boulukos hit.
The Orange attack rode hard all half, getting a few deflections on clearing passes, but no unsettled situations resulted. Freshman John Glynn started Cornell’s march back when he attempted to feed over the crease, but instead threw into the back of the net. He was able to grab the loose ball and cut back, catching his defender leaning the wrong way, and wrap around for the score. But Syracuse’s freshman star Mike Leveille answered when he caught a feed from Bucktooth who was sweeping behind the cage, and popped it into the top off-stick corner for the goal.
The Orange almost got themselves in trouble when Ditzell charged on the field during a substitution and clobber a Big Red player high. Two penalties were called, neither on him. Park was hit with a 30 second hold and Leveille was charged with a 30 second offside. Cornell killed the penalty on their own by throwing the ball away not ten seconds in, allowing Syracuse to let Park run out the rest of the two-man-down.
Ditzell continued to play poor fundamental defense by playing with his stick first, and not his feet. Boulukos was able to get the edge under him again, this time on a runner that stuck right underneath the crossbar.
The next time Boulukos had the ball the Orange tried a quick double, but he was able to dump to senior Sean Greenhalgh who somehow hit Pfeifer’s well covered top stick-side corner. Rommel added another, rolling back-and-forth on his defender, and then firing a jump shot that beat McMonalge low.
Momentum quickly shifted on the Orange at then end of the half. With 37 seconds left, senior Jake Plunket threw a nice dodge and got off a shot that nailed the post. Cornell got the ball and sophomore Brian Clayton hit Boulukos with a quick pass, cutting the lead to one with 11 seconds left. The senior J.D. Nelson was able to win the last faceoff and long pole junior Mike Pisco hit senior Kevin Nee on the crease who scored with one second left, to tie the game.
Cornell took their first lead at 1:10 into the half when Haswell grabbed a failed feed on the crease and jammed it into the off-stick top corner. The Big Red where able to capitalize on another penalty then when Plunket was called for a 30 second hold. Boulukos grabbed a loose ball, took a quick step and fired a jump shot that beat Pfeifer on the bounce. Bucktooth tried for a quick answer, but McMonagle got a piece of his shot as it bounced off the crossbar. Bucktooth got himself another assist though, when he again swept from behind the cage to the wing, and ripped a feed across the face of the goal that junior Brian Crockett slapped in for the goal.
Cornell found success in their offensive set by rotating the ball from the box line down, drawing defenders up and letting attack man sneak in for shots from the low wings. On one of these plays sophomore Brian Clayton fed Haswell on the wing, who beat Pfeifer to the top stick-side corner again. Rommel tried to answer on a broken situation when he got the ball with room in front of the cage, but McMonalge stepped up and made a big save as Rommel got pummeled.
Pfeifer had issues with rebounds again today, as he made a good save on Boulukos, but Greenhalgh was able to grab the rebound draw Pfeifer high, and tucked the ball underneath him, giving Cornell their biggest lead of the game. Crockett asserted himself again when he got the ball about 10 yards off the post, got a step of separation, and squeezed the ball between McMonagle and the pipe on a quick jumper. Leveille followed Crockett’s lead, getting the ball on the wing and driving in for the shot that beat McMonalge on the bounce to the far side. Pfeifer kept the Cornell lead to one goal by standing up to an uncontested walk-in shot from the wing.
The crowd grew louder as the fourth quarter began, with the Cornell faithful making their presence felt. (Cornell is only about an hour down the road from Syracuse.) The Orange quickly tied when 44 seconds in Brooks hit Leveille who threw three fakes and then tucked the ball away low.
Cornell got back on top when Greenhalgh hit Haswell who was cutting from the backside towards crease. Haswell caught and fired a quick shot that beat Pfeifer over his left shoulder. But Syracuse tied it again, this time as Rommel decided to get himself a goal, driving down and leaning hard on his man about five yards off crease, bouncing a shot underneath McMonagle as Rommel fell.
Boulukos would not be stopped though, as he put Cornell back on top with his sixth goal. He simply caught a pass at the box, drove, again got underneath his man, and found rope in the stick-side top corner. But again Syracuse tied when Bucktooth, standing at X, dished to Leveille on the crease who stuffed it in for the goal.
But Cornell scored what would be the game winner with 2:30 left when senior Justin Redd found Nee on the backside for the go-ahead goal. Appropriately enough Boulukos put the nail in the coffin with 1:27 left, grabbing a pass from Clayton and scoring.
Rommel tried to be the hero one last time with a 1:13 left. He got the ball, drove down field, and ripped a shot that went high as he was hammered and shaken up. Cornell got the ball back and was able to run out the end of the game, giving Cornell the win, 16-14.
“Joey [Boulukos] decided to take the game over for himself, and that worked,” said Cornell Head Coach Jeff Tambroni after the game. “Great players make great coaches.”
“I was just shooting the ball, closing my eyes, and hoping they go in,” Boulukos said after the game. “One of my favorite places to play is the Carrier Dome, so I was excited. The atmosphere is unbelievable.”
“He runs hard, plays hard, and gets separation with his big body,” Ditzell said of Boulukos after the game as to the Orange had such trouble defending him.
“We had to deny him the ball, not give him opportunities,” Syracuse Head Coach John Desko said after the game. This was obviously a task we did not do.
Tambroni attributed the win to a mental edge for his team, telling them, “Never get too high and never get too low. Don’t get your head down…I felt like in the last five minutes it was about mindset. I felt like we believed we could win.”
“It’s just one of those games where everything goes wrong,” Pfeifer said after the game. “How we respond to this is going to determine how the end of the season will turn out.”
Cornell travels to Hanover, N.H. for an Ivy League game against Dartmouth at 1 p.m. Saturday. Syracuse stays at home to play Rutgers at 4 p.m. Saturday.
|Brett Bucktooth||(2, 3)|
|Steven Brooks||(3, 1)|
|Jarett Park||(1, 3)|
|Mike Leveille||(4, 0)|
|Greg Rommel||(2, 1)|
|Brian Crockett||(2, 0)|
|Jay Pfeifer||9 (0.360)|