After one of its worst defensive showings this season in a 16-14 loss to Cornell Tuesday night, No. 6 ranked Syracuse (6-4) rebounded to win 17-6 over unranked Rutgers (4-6).
It was the Orange's first win over Rutgers in three years after a 14-10 away loss in 2004 and a 12-11 home overtime loss in 2003.
A six goal unanswered outburst in the first quarter paced the Orange offense to its highest output of the season.
"It was a good game for us today, both offensively and defensively," said coach John Desko. "Offensively, right from the beginning, I was happy with the movement and the shooting. It was very important for us to get off to a good start against this good goaltender."
The All-America goalie Greg Havalchak, has owned the Syracuse offense the past two years with 21 saves in 2004 and 14 stops in 2003. He saved only seven this time.
His counterpart, Syracuse senior Jay Pfeifer, recorded 10 saves. His eighth of the game moved him to sole possession of second place on Syracuse's all-time saves list. Pfeifer passed Tom Nims (692 saves, '81-‘85) and now sits with 695 stops, behind only Jamie Molloy (766 saves, '77-'80).
"It's great. I'm just happy we won," said Pfeifer, who didn't become aware of his accomplishment until it was announced over the Carrier Dome loudspeakers.
Pfeifer left the game to a standing ovation as Desko inserted freshman Jake Myers in goal with 5 minutes and 30 second remaining to play. Myers recorded one save and didn't allow a goal.
Desko moved a struggling Brian Crockett to midfield to get the junior attackman more involved and scoring again. Crockett, who played midfield as a freshman, responded to lead all scorers with five goals.
"It was fun and a nice change for me to get up top and see a little bit more of the goal," said Crockett, who usually attacks from behind the cage.
Crockett's most impressive play came when a Rutgers defender knocked him down about five feet in front of the goal. Crockett shot the ball from the ground on his back, negating a delayed penalty call. The goal gave Syracuse a 13-6 lead with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Orange led 14-5 at the half behind four goals by freshman attackman Mike Leveille. He benefited from the superb vision of junior attackman Brett Bucktooth, who assisted on three of Leveille's goals.
With 10:24 remaining in the second quarter, Bucktooth managed to shovel a pass around his defender straight to an awaiting Leveille in front of the goal. That gave Syracuse an 8-1 lead.
Bucktooth, who tallied four assists in the game, found Leveille earlier after he scooped up a ground ball by the sideline. He quickly turned and fired a pass to a wide-open Leveille, again in front of the goal. Leveille scored to give Syracuse a 4-0 lead with 8:15 remaining in the first quarter.
Syracuse led 6-0 at the end of the opening quarter and 7-0 before Rutgers notched its first goal of the game with 10:55 remaining before half.
Sophomore Danny Brennan again dominated the face-off position, winning 19-of-27. He won a career-high 23 face-offs on 32 attempts against Cornell.
Orange enjoy laugher over Rutgers
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