SYRACUSE, N.Y.- Syracuse held off a fighting Army West Point in a one goal game on Sunday evening at the Carrier Dome. The No. 4 Orange beat Army 9-8 and improve to 3-0 on the season.
Army scored first and took a 3-1 lead late in the first quarter. Syracuse then went on a 4-0 run, holding the Black Knights scoreless in the second quarter and leading 5-3 at the half. The Orange extended the run to 6-0 in the third before Army stopped the bleeding with a goal on a man-up opportunity. The Black Knights continued to fight, going on a 5-1 run and tying the game at eight apiece with just under five minutes left to play. Syracuse scored one last time with three and a half minutes remaining and kept a knocking Army scoreless thereafter.
“The game went almost as expected,” Coach John Desko said. “We knew Army was going to come in and play for 60 minutes. As expected Army crawled back into the game, ended up tying it up and turning it into a game that could have went either way.”
Derek DeJoe and Sergio Salcido each scored twice for the Orange, while Dylan Donahue added one goal and one assist. Ben Williams helped the offense gain possessions by winning 13 of 19 faceoffs. Tim Barber’s lone goal proved to be the game winner with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter. Seven players scored for Syracuse.
“The way our offense works you’re never gonna know who is shooting,” Donahue said. “We’ve got that team offensive game.”
Army’s offense kept the pressure on all game with 34 shots. Connor Cook led the Black Knights with two goals and one assist followed by Cole Johnson with one goal and one assist. Army capitalized on three of four man-up opportunities.
Late in the fourth and down by one, Army pulled its goalie to double the ball and regain possession. After causing a turnover on the defensive end, Army kept firing. Johnson took the final shot on cage before it ricocheted off the goal post, spoiling any chance of a comeback.
“I actually felt it hit off the tip of my stick,” goalkeeper Warren Hill said. “As soon as I heard it hit off the pipe I got scared for a second. Luckily it popped out and didn’t go in. That was the best feeling ever.”
“To play a game like this, you can’t practice that,” Desko said. “You can’t prepare for that.”
Hill finished with 10 saves on 18 shots on goal during his 60 minutes of play. Army’s freshman goalkeeper AJ Barretto saved 11 of 20 shots on goal.
“He walked onto campus with a lot of poise,” Army Coach Joe Alberici said. “He’s a little beyond his years.”
“For a freshman to walk into the Carrier Dome and play; it’s not easy,” Desko said. “I thought he was really up for the task.”
Syracuse’s defense caused seven turnovers and tallied 26 ground balls. Army caused four turnovers and recorded 19 ground balls.
With the win, Syracuse improves to 3-0 while Army falls to 2-2.