May 2, 2010

Courtesy of Syracuse

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - No. 2 Syracuse (12-1, 5-0) captured a share of the inaugural BIG EAST Conference championship with a 12-6 victory against No. 19 Notre Dame (7-6, 2-4) in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,063 at Arlotta Stadium on Saturday, May 1.

Syracuse is the only unbeaten team in the conference and can win the title outright with a victory at St. John's next weekend. Villanova and Georgetown are the other teams still alive in the conference title chase. Both are 4-1 in the league. The Hoyas and Wildcats square off next weekend in Philadelphia.

Junior Stephen Keogh paced the Orange with four goals against Notre Dame. Classmates Joel White and Josh Amidon each had two. For White, it was the first two-goal game of his career. Amidon also added an assist to finish with three points.

Syracuse tallied the first five goals of the game and the last five. In between, the Irish outscored the Orange, 6-2, but never led in the contest.

The Orange registered four goals in the span of 3:06 during the first quarter, and led 5-0 after the initial 15 minutes. The offensive fireworks were provided by White and Keogh, who combined for four of SU's five goals in the period. White's offensive contributions were a welcome addition as he opened the game's scoring at the 9:05 mark. White found the cage again when junior Jovan Miller flipped him a pass on the crease and he beat Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers with 5:59 to go in the period.

Staring at a five-goal deficit, the Irish regrouped in the second quarter, holding the Orange without a goal and scoring twice to trim the margin to 5-2 at the half.

Penalties played a key role in Syracuse's second-quarter struggles. It committed three fouls in the period, including an offside violation that led to the Irish's first goal as Colin Igoe got Notre Dame on the board with a man-up score with 10:49 left in the half. Nicholas Beattie also found the cage for Notre Dame in the period.

The Irish carried their momentum into the third quarter, notching the first two goals of the second half, including a man-up goal by Zach Brenneman at the 9:45 mark, to close the gap to 5-4.

However, the Syracuse offense came to life midway through the third. Amidon stopped the Notre Dame run with a lefty laser with 8:40 left in the period, and junior Jeremy Thompson pushed the lead back to three (7-4) with an unassisted goal in transition.

The Irish got within one again (7-6) on consecutive goals by Grant Krebs and Neal Hicks later in the third quarter, but Hicks' goal with 3:06 remaining in the frame proved to be the Irish's last goal of the game as the Orange held them scoreless for the final 18:06.

During that time, Syracuse netted five goals, including four in the fourth quarter. The Orange's last three goals all came with the extra man, including two by Keogh.

The Orange converted on three of its four man-up chances in the contest, while Notre Dame was just 2-for-7 with the extra man.

Faceoffs were also a critical component to the team's success. Syracuse was 14-for-22 at the X, and won four of the five draws in the fourth quarter. Senior Gavin Jenkinson led the charge with a season-best 11-for-15 showing against Notre Dame faceoff ace Trever Sipperly.

Beattie led the Irish with three points (1g, 2a). Brenneman added a goal and an assist. No other Irish player had more than one point.

Syracuse closes out the 2010 regular season on Saturday, May 8 against the Red Storm. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. at DaSilva Memorial Field.

Game Notes: The Orange extended its winning streak to 10 games and improved to 4-0 all-time against the Irish ... It also marked the ninth straight game the Syracuse defense held its opponent to single-digit goals ... Syracuse hasn't allowed more than 10 goals in a game since March 13 against Georgetown ... Freshmen Brian Megill tied his career high with six ground balls ... Saturday's game was the first-ever night game at Arlotta Stadium.