By Joel Godett
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Four shots, three goals. Army wasted no time sticking its thorn in Syracuse’s side Friday at the Carrier Dome. The Black Knights took a 3-1 lead into the first quarter break. It seemed like the same old Army-Syracuse fight. But that didn’t last, SU improving to 2-0 with a 17-6 win at the Carrier Dome.
“We talked all week about this game,” Coach John Desko said. “We knew the history of this game and it’s been a very close game and a game we’ve had to work very hard to win. They come in here every year and they’re getting pretty comfortable in the Carrier Dome – and a couple of years ago they beat us here.”
The last two years had been the Adam Fullerton show for West Point. The seasoned goalie had 15 saves last year, seemingly stopping everything that came his way. And if he didn’t stop it, he altered how the Orange shot it. But this is 2009 and Fullerton is gone. Enter new goalie, sophomore Tom Palesky.
“The way they came out in the first quarter it was almost ‘here we go again,’” senior captain Kenny Nims said.
The Orange went scoreless on its first 15 shots and trailed 3-1 after the first. Palesky saved five of the six first half shots on goal.
“I’m not sure a player meant more than [Fullerton] did to his team in 2008,” Army coach Joe Alberici said. “But I’ll tell you what guys, I walk away feeling pretty good about Tom Palesky. He did a good job in there.”
“Yeah, I saw shades of that in the first half, the first quarter,” Desko said, remembering Fullerton’s play. “Most definitely.”
But as the game wore on, the Syracuse sleeping giant awoke. The first sign of life came at the 2:07 mark of the first. Stephen Keogh’s shot got past Palesky, but not the goal line. The ball trickled to a slow halt a few inches short. But that wasn’t the case seconds later when Tim Desko broke a clear for his second career goal.
SU made its own breaks after that, dropping in seven straight goals over the second and third quarters. It outscored the Cadets 16-3 from the second period on.
That streak started four minutes into the second with Josh Amidon’s second goal of the year. The Orange followed that up with three goals on three possessions…and three shots, attack Chris Daniello notching two of those. Nine ‘Cuse players scored in total, with two recording hat tricks.
“All of them are capable of scoring,” Alberici said of the SU offense. “All of them are a threat to score. So it’s like, where is it coming from? When you put all that kind of pressure, and then they did a nice job in the middle, [that’s] too many opportunities.”
Alberici called out Dan Hardy and Matt Abbott in particular. He described Hardy as ‘dynamic’ with two goals and three assists. Alberici pointed to Abbott as possibly the most complete midfielder in the nation.
As the game wore on, Syracuse just continued to grow stronger – outscoring its opponent 7-1 in the third. It outshot the Knights 13-3 in that frame, and some of those scores just looked too easy. The Orange’s 10th score came when 6’5’’ Scott Kahoe bulled right by his defender, landed on the doorstep and dumped behind him for one of Keogh’s three goals. Kahoe tied a career high with two points.
“Fortunately in the second quarter and third quarter they were starting to drop for us, and when that does we get our runs and we can be tough here in the Dome,” Desko said.
After scoring a combined 14 goals against the Cadets the last two seasons, SU had 14 with 10 minutes left in the game. The rout was officially on with the Orange up 15-5 and 7:59 left in the fourth quarter. That’s when John Galloway was pulled from the goal in favor of back-up Al Cavalieri. Freshman Kevin Drew followed with his first career goal less than 40 seconds later. Seldom used sophomore Alex Giocondi got on the board two minutes later.
“We expected a dogfight and that’s what it seemed like it was going to be in the first quarter,” Galloway said. “But it’s nice to be able to come out and it’s nice to be able to take your helmet off and be able to hang out in the fourth quarter. I didn’t expect it, but it was definitely a nice surprise.”
Syracuse has a week off until its showdown with No. 2 Virginia Friday.
|Kenny Nims||(3, 3)|
|Dan Hardy||(2, 3)|
|Stephen Keogh||(3, 1)|
|Josh Amidon||(2, 0)|
|Scott Kahoe||(1, 1)|
|Tim Desko||(2, 0)|
|Chris Daniello||(2, 0)|
|Joel White||(0, 1)|
|Nate Tucker||(0, 1)|
|Kevin Drew||(1, 0)|
|Alex Giocondi||(1, 0)|
|John Galloway||5 (0.500)|
|Al Cavalieri||0 (0.000)|