Army's Alex Van Krevel had a clear shot at tying the game late, but a stop by Syracuse's Dominic Lamolinara enabled the clock to run out and the Orange to edge the Black Knights, 10-9 at the Carrier Dome.
The hard-nosed game was up-and-down offensively and featured a Garret Thul hat trick for Army and a pair of three-point scorers for Syracuse in Derek Maltz and Tommy Palasek.
"Well it seems to be a typical Syracuse – Army game…" said Syracuse Head Coach John Desko, who is now 10-2 lifetime against the in-state rival. "I thought it went just about as we thought it would go."
But Sunday's contest began at a snail's patient pace on both sides of the field, at least until midway through the first quarter when SU attacker Tim Desko broke the ice with a crashing goal after 6 ½ minutes of scoreless play.
Orange goalie Matt Lerman saved the first shot sent his way, but a second-chance effort was put in by Tyler Kamid soon after. On the Orange's next chance, Peter Macartney scored after Army goalie Zach Palmieri fell down.
62 seconds later, JoJo Marasco fed Pete Coleman to push the Syracuse lead to 3-1.
Army came out of the ensuing timeout firing as Devin Lynch put one by Lerman. However, much like after the Black Knights' first goal – Syracuse came right back with an answer. Maltz, who had two golden one-timer opportunities earlier in the period, finally got one to go on a Drew Jenkins assist.
The pace remained high-tempo in the second period, and Army got things going after a stop-and-fire by John Glesener to pull the visitors within one.
Both defenses picked it up from that point, and each goalie came up with solid saves to keep the scoring at a minimum. However, the face-off game was a one-sided affair all afternoon as Syracuse claimed 16 of 22 over the length of the game thanks to specialist Chris Daddio.
"I've been doing a lot more in practice, working with Coach [Kevin] Donahue, just working on our own play with just the face-off guys…" said Daddio. "Pete Macartney, any of the other short sticks coming in, I'm really starting to get used to them."
Even with the Orange dominant initially, the turnovers the team would amass – totaling 24 -would keep the Black Knights in it.
"I'm unhappy with the turnovers, we talked about valuing the ball – especially against West Point (Army) which is a team that likes to control the tempo," said Desko. "(We) Gave up too many there, but I thought when we needed to we played well, we dug it out."
Lerman came up with his top stop of the day by snagging a Pat Brennan shot, but it came about 90 seconds after he allowed Thul to get his first one passed him to tie the game.
After more missed chances by the Orange, including twice with a one-man advantage, Conor Hayes snuck one below Lerman with nine seconds left before halftime to give the Black Knights their first lead of the afternoon one the way to closing the half on a 3-0 run.
As he did in its first game; Desko opted to go with Lamolinara in goal in the second half.
The home team came out firing in the third period, but Palmieri was up to the task. He stopped early chances by Hakeem Lecky and Marasco. Macartney fired one off the post seconds later, before Maltz broke through and tied the game with a side-armed strike.
Palasek put the Orange in front briefly before Army would score twice in a 25-second span – first Lynch then Thul - to retake the lead.
Desko used one hand to tie things once again midway through the third period before Thul notched a third goal at the 7:22 mark of the period.
The pace tailed-off for a bit thanks to some impressive saves by Palmieri, but he couldn't stop a Luke Cometti shot with just under 90 seconds left before the fourth period.
Marasco joined the goal-scoring party just 38 seconds into the fourth, running nearly half the length of the field to do so before rocketing one over his left shoulder by Palmieri. Minutes later, Glesener matched Marasco's impressive run with a stop-and-go move to freeze and SU defender on the way to a game-tying goal.
With half of the period gone, Cometti got Syracuse into double-figures with a short-range goal assisted by Ryan barber.
Later on, with the late10-9 lead, Syracuse's offense took its time and wound the clock before Army snagged a late chance after coming up with big hit after big hit.
The Black Knights had the ball with 18 seconds left for one final chance to tie things up, and Van Krevel had a one-on-one chance to send the game into overtime.
Lamolinara was there for the save to protect the lead as time expired to give SU the win.
"Under the circumstances of the situation, Dom was pretty comfortable and sealed the game," Desko said.
"I was just focused on the ball, I was looking at the ball the whole time," Lamolinara said. "I wasn't looking away, wasn't really directing anybody. I knew it was just going to be me and one other guy so I just kept my eyes on that the whole time.
"Got lucky enough to make a good play."
Syracuse will be back in action next Sunday in Charlottesville, VA to take on the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers.