CHARLOTTE, N.C. – No. 13 Syracuse (6-5, 3-1 BIG EAST) put on its best offensive display of the season, routing Rutgers (5-8, 1-4) in the opening game of the ESPNU Warrior Classic, 19-6, before a crowd of 6,230 Saturday, April 14 at American Legion Memorial Stadium. The Orange scored 12 straight goals in the first half to break the game open and didn’t look back in defeating the Scarlet Knights for the eighth straight time.
Syracuse’s balance and depth was remarkable as 12 different players had goals and 18 members of the roster tallied at least one point. The team also showed its unselfishness as 17 of its 19 goals were assisted.
Senior Tommy Palasek led the way, tying his career high with six points (3g, 3a). Sophomore Derek Maltz paced the SU goal scorers. Maltz notched a personal-best four goals against the Scarlet Knights, all in the opening quarter.
In addition to Palasek and Maltz, several more players turned in career performances Saturday, including senior Bobby Eilers who had four points (2g, 2a) and sophomore Billy Ward who had three (1g, 2a).
"It was almost a perfect day for us," SU head coach John Desko said. "It's just such a different game for us when we have possessions off the faceoff. It gives our offense opportunities to score and gives our defense a break at the other end. You could see today just having the ball on offense, getting some things to work and getting the different midfield groups in helped with our execution."
At the start it didn’t appear Syracuse would handle Rutgers as easily as it did. The Orange trailed 2-1 in the early going before exploding for 12 goals in a row, including the last eight of the first quarter.
Freshman Matt Walters started the run with his first career goal, an extra-man tally, at the 9:15 mark of the first and Ward capped it, finding the cage with 2:18 left in the half. The end result of the scoring binge was a 13-2 Orange advantage.
Following Ward’s score, Will Mangan snapped the Rutgers drought with a man-down goal with 1:47 remaining in the second quarter to make the score 13-3 at halftime.
In the second half, the barrage continued as Syracuse recorded the first five goals of the third quarter to gain its largest lead of the game at 18-3.
Kevin Hover finally stopped the latest Orange run, registering the Scarlet Knights' first goal of the second half with 26 seconds left in the third quarter. However, SU quickly regained a 15-goal advantage as redshirt junior Pete Coleman beat the buzzer, scoring with one second to play in the period to extend the lead to 19-4.
With the outcome already secured, the Scarlet Knights closed the game’s scoring with a pair of late fourth-quarter goals.
Brian Goss led Rutgers with two goals and one assist. Mangan and Nick Depaolera added one goal and one assist apiece for the Scarlet Knights.
Syracuse dominated the statistics, holding significant advantages in shots (45-24), ground balls (42-24) and faceoffs (17-9). The Orange also turned in a perfect clearing percentage, successfully converting on all 18 of its attempts.
Junior Brian Megill led the Orange at the faceoff X with a personal-best 8-for-12 (.667) performance. He also collected a career-high seven ground balls and anchored a defense that shut out the Scarlet Knights for 22:28 in the first half.
Freshman Bobby Wardwell made his third straight start in goal for Syracuse. Wardwell made three saves in a little over 40 minutes of work before being replaced by sophomore Dominic Lamolinara and redshirt sophomore Matthew Lerman, who combined to play the final 19:28 of the contest.
For Rutgers, Steven Lusby started between the pipes, but he was replaced by Joseph Donnelly in the second quarter after surrendering 11 goals. Lusby finished the game with six saves and Donnelly recorded nine.
Syracuse is back in action on Tuesday, April 17 when it visits Hobart for a 7 p.m. contest at Boswell Field. The game will be televised live on Time Warner Cable Sports.
Game Notes: SU’s nine first-quarter goals was its most in one period since it scored 10 in the first quarter of the 2008 season opener against Villanova … Megill’s streak of 42 consecutive starts on close defense ended with him taking the opening faceoff against Rutgers … Redshirt junior Steve Ianzito, usually a defensive midfielder, started in his place … Freshman Kevin Rice recorded the first points of his college career with two assists … Senior Kevin Drew also had a pair of helpers to register his first multi-assist game … Senior Joe Moore scored his first career goal in the third quarter … In two career games against Rutgers, Palasek has 12 points (6g, 6a) … Palasek also had three goals and three assists in last year's meeting with the Scarlet Knights … Senior Collin Donahue, who spent two years at Rutgers before coming to Syracuse, totaled three points (2g, 1a) against his former team Saturday, tying his career high … SU’s 17 assists were four short of the school record (21) set against Penn in 1985 … In the second game of the ESPNU Warrior Classic doubleheader, North Carolina defeated Hofstra, 12-9.
Rutgers vs. Syracuse
|Tommy Palasek||(3, 3)|
|Bobby Eilers||(2, 2)|
|Derek Maltz||(4, 0)|
|Collin Donahue||(2, 1)|
|Billy Ward||(1, 2)|
|Matt Walters||(1, 1)|
|Kevin Drew||(0, 2)|
|Kevin Rice||(0, 2)|
|Tim Desko||(1, 0)|
|Matt Pratt||(0, 1)|
|Jojo Marasco||(0, 1)|
|Matt Harris||(0, 1)|
|Ryan Barber||(0, 1)|
|Joe Moore||(1, 0)|
|Scott Loy||(1, 0)|
|Pete Coleman||(1, 0)|
|Luke Cometti||(1, 0)|
|Steve Ianzito||(1, 0)|