Legendary former Orangeman coach Roy Simmons, Jr. was surprised as well saying,"I give them a lot of credit; I didn't think they had that kind of fire power." The young team made up of many starting underclassmen may not of known they had it in them either. Assistant coach for Hopkins Seth Tierney referring to the first three quarters of the game said,"We were playing our age and we needed to play an older age." Hopkins grew up in the fourth quarter and sophomore Kevin Boland was the man. Of the last three goals he scored two and assisted on the other.
There was a slight drizzle at the start of the game, but although the skies were dark and artificial lights neccessary, the rain held off. The turf was slick however which led to some early wipe outs with players testing it. Hopkins won the opening face-off, but some sloppy protection while waiting for players to assemble led to the ball going out of bounds. Close defenseman Solomon Bliss(he also takes the wing on face-offs) juked his riding attackman deep in his own half before dishing off to Spencer Wright at midfield. Wright had a step on his defender the whole way to the cage and eventually tucked the stick inside to his left hand and bounced a 14 yard shot low to open the scoring 33 seconds into the game to put Syracuse up, 1-0. Syracuse was on the offensive again with Powell facing a shortstick in freshman middie Kyle Harrison. Harrison played perfect defense before Powell forced a feed that got knocked down. The ball bounced around before Mike Springer wound up with it about three yards above goal line extended to the goalie's left. With a defenseman rushing out to meet him he pulled a huge roll dodge out with his 6'4" frame to gain position in front of the net all alone with Murtha. He beat the Hopkins netminder to the far side along the left pipe waist high, 2-0. It looked like the Blue Jays were in trouble so after they won the next faceoff Coach Pietramala called timeout. When play resumed attackman Peter Lesueur got off a rocket, but Orange goalie Jay Pfeifer snuffed it out. Syracuse came down field and after Powell lost the ball in the corner middie Bill Perrit tried to regain possession for Syracuse and dove for the ball near the sideline skipping like a flat rock on water into an advertisement on the sidelines just before the track. Injury timeout was called.
Hopkins came down the field and LeSueur drove from behind against Bliss. Bliss got the stick around LeSueur's neck and drew the holding penalty. Hopkins scored on a scrappy play in front of the net, but the whistle blew because a player had been pushed in the crease giving Hopkins a two man advantage. LeSueur hit Adam Donegar about 14 yards out to Pfeifer's left and Doneger blew it past him along short side right pipe, 2-1.
Hopkins dropped into a zone looking to help early with slides fearing Syracuse's attack would be to hard to stop one on one. Hopkin's game plan was to stop the attack and force syracuse to beat them with their middies. Syracuse, on the other hand, was pressing out all over against the Hopkins attack. Hopkins was extremely deliberate on offense running everything through set plays. Syracuse played a pick and role style setting screens behind the goal and high along the restraining line. This was largely inaffective however due to the blue Jays style of defense. Hopkins couldn't penetrate the very impressive Orange defensive core of Glatzel, St. George, and Bliss. Glatzel alone picked off two feeds and stopped a shot with his stick. Bliss is a monster, in fact, Doneger had him lined up late in the game for what could have been a viscious check on a semi-buddy pass(remember Doneger crushing Sam Basset in the play-offs two years ago). bliss caught the on-coming train out of the corner of his eye and braced himself for the hit. Doneger bounced off Bliss and fell down losing his stick in the process.
Syracuse started the second quarter fast again with Matt Bontaites scoring off the face-off, 3-1. Conor Ford answered for Hopkins at the 13:40 mark to make it 3-2. Syracuse was called for two many men on the field and Hopkins cashed in on a man-up goal to knot it up, 3-3. Moments later Syracuse found themselves down by two men after two consecutive push calls, but Pfeifer made a couple of sensational saves to keep it tied. Powell was held scoreless today, but he drew at least three penalties going against PJ DiConza most of the day. Powell, along with the rest of the attack saw a defense which collapsed into the center and slid early every time he got a step on his man. He was successful in finding guys wide open on the crease, but the recipients were largely unable to convert due to a combination of missed shots and great saves by Murtha. DiConza was in the box when Powell fed Brian Solliday from behind to the goalies right to the high lefty crank spot. Solliday drilled the pipe and the ball went out of bounds. Spencer Wright brought the ball down and gave it back to Solliday who didn't miss the second time from the same spot, 4-3. Sean Lindsay was the recipient of a dump pass after Tom Hardy drove from the top of the box and drew two. Linsay turned and beat Murtha to make it 5-3 in favor of Syracuse. Ford answered for Hopkins with a shot on the run, 5-4. Powell carried across the restraining line lefty and Coffman cut underneath the opposite direction and converted Powell's feed for each players only point of the day(That's a tough blow to many fantasy league rosters). The half ended 6-4.
The third quarter was dominated by defense and goaltending. Syracuse tallied the first goal with 4:24 remaining in the third an with the score 7-4 it seemed as if the game would just play out that way.
The fourth quarter started out the same, but ended in heroic fashion for the Blue Jays. DiConza got called early as he fouled Powell again, but the man-up was unsuccessful with Murtha becoming a stone wall. It appeared that goals were going to be next to impossible down the stretch until Harrison broke the ice for Hopkins with a sweep to the right from the top and a side arm bounce shot that made it 7-5 and woke the crowd up. With 5:13 to go Doneger took a shot that symbolized the game at that point. He one-timed a shot much like hockey players take slapshots from the blue line and got incredible velocity on it. Syracuse middie David Puccia probably didn't have time to react and the shot left him writhing in pain and a timeout was called.
Kevin Boland began the magic with 4:29 remaining. Working from X he came around to his left. When the double came he quickly turned back towards X and flipped a feed to Conor Ford who quick sticked the shot before Pfeifer even had a chance to find it, 7-6. Syracuse answered quickly. When Pat Hogan fed Solliday for Syracuses eigth goal of the day it appeared that 'Cuse was sleep walking and Hopkins just woke them up, but that was not the case.
Hopkins middie Joe McDermott decided to start taking chances with time dwindling so from about five yards above goal line extended to the goalie's left he drove kamikaze style. When the slides came he found Boland on the backside just behind goal line extended. Boland stretched out and tucked in the goal before being clobbered, 8-7 at 2:31 to go. Hopkins wins the ensuing face and calls time-out. The players take the field with the theme from Rocky being played by the band. Boland gets the ball and starts behind the net in the corner to the goalie's right. Freshman middie Jarett Park was defending on the invert play. Boland drove to his left and when he got to X Park got tangled up with the back of the net. Boland was free to come around to his right drawing the slides and dumping up to Bobby Benson 8 yards out to Pfeifer's right. Benson tied the game at 8 a piece with his goal. On the next face-off the ball is awarded to Hopkins after a loose ball push. Replay the tape. Boland goes to the same spot against Park, but this time he gets a step on Park and manages to get between Park and the crease to get a shot off before the slides arrive. Boland placed it in the upper right portion of the net along the pipe with very little angle, 9-8.
With over a minute this game was far from over. SU gets the ball with one minute to go and they take a time out. The drama at this point is frightening. Powell against DiConza from the midfield line. Powell's legs were moving so fast and he was changing direction so many times that something was bound to happen. He found Brian Nee on the crease about eight yards out and Nee whaled the right post. Su ball now with thirty seconds to go. Powell took the ball from the side and ran to the midfield line before taking his run. He split to his right and Harrison came out on the early slide to help DiConza. Harrison went to throw a check and wound up cross checking Powell in the head(Ahh, impetuous youth). With 19 seconds to go 'Cuse works the ball around the perimeter before Powell rips a shot from close in along goal line extended to Murtha's right. Murtha stepped to the ball and made what looked like a rather easy save in comparison to many of the spectacular ones he had throughout the day.
|Kevin Boland||(3, 2)|
|Conor Ford||(3, 1)|
|Kyle Harrison||(1, 1)|
|Adam Doneger||(1, 1)|
|Bobby Benson||(1, 1)|
|Nick Murtha||18 (0.692)|