SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The eighth-ranked Orange men’s lacrosse team split two games in its final preseason scrimmage Sunday, Feb. 12 in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse defeated No. 7 Maryland, 11-9, in its opening game before losing to Canisius, 11-10, in the second half of the doubleheader.
Both contests featured four regulation quarters and each game was decided in the final moments. Syracuse rookie Kevin Rice scored the game-winner against the Terps with 16 seconds left, and Canisius found the cage with one second remaining to win the second game.
For Orange head coach John Desko, Sunday’s results were less important than where the team is heading into its season opener against Albany.
“This is a game week coming up and we have to be ready,” Desko said. “We’re definitely not in midseason form. But mentally we’re ready to go and as coaches we’re going to spend a lot of time the next couple of days watching film and evaluating what we saw on the field.”
Against Maryland, Desko saw the Orange score nine goals in the second half, including three in the final minute, to rally for a two-goal victory. Syracuse trailed 6-2 at halftime and 9-7 with 3:08 to play before storming back.
Sophomore Scott Loy began the final SU surge with an unassisted goal at the 2:10 mark of the fourth quarter, trimming the Maryland lead to 9-8. Senior Bobby Eilers converted a JoJo Marasco pass to tie it 1:21 later, and Rice followed to give SU its first lead of the day, 10-9.
On the ensuing faceoff, sophomore Ricky Buhr won the draw and scored himself with nine ticks left on the clock to secure the win.
In addition to his insurance goal, Buhr’s work at the faceoff X in the final period was critical to the Orange rally. He won the last five draws of the game and the Orange won 6-of-8 faceoffs overall in the fourth quarter.
Senior Tommy Palasek, junior Matt Pratt and Eilers paced the SU offense with three points each. Palasek recorded one goal and two assists, while Eilers scored twice and was credited with one helper. Pratt finished with three assists, including one on Rice’s deciding tally.
Redshirt sophomore Matthew Lerman played the opening half. Maryland transfer Dominic Lamolinara played the second half against his former mates. Lamolinara registered five saves, including four in the third quarter, to keep Syracuse within striking distance.
Desko rested his starters in the nightcap against Canisius. Instead, he elected to go almost exclusively with reserves and the result was a one-goal defeat. Redshirt junior Pete Coleman (2g, 1a) and sophomore Pat Powderly (1g, 2a) led Syracuse with three points each. The Orange also two goals apiece from true freshman Matt Walters and redshirt freshman Chris Kane.
Coleman notched both of his goals in the first quarter to help SU to a 4-2 advantage over the Griffins. Walters picked up where Coleman left off, scoring twice in the second quarter, to help extend the Orange margin to 8-4 at the break.
After Powderly began the third period with a goal to make it 9-4 Syracuse, the momentum shifted to Canisius. The Griffins scored seven goals, including six in a row, to turn the five-goal deficit into a 10-9 advantage with 7:07 remaining. Kane’s second goal of the game tied the score with 1:23 left, but SU couldn’t hold the lead, surrendering the game-winner with one second left.
Again faceoffs played a critical role in deciding the outcome. Canisius won 8-of-10 draws in the second half and held a 15-9 advantage at the faceoff X for the game.
Goalies Ben Levy and Paul Dubas split time equally in the cage against the Griffins with Levy finishing with a team-best five stops.
Syracuse opens the 2012 regular season at home against Albany on Sunday, Feb. 19. Faceoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Time Warner Cable Sports and SNY. Tickets are available online, at the Carrier Dome Box Office (Gate B) or by calling 1-888-DOMETIX.
Results: SU 11, Maryland 9 | Canisius 11, SU 10