Three-goal rally lifts Syracuse past Yale; game-winner comes with 13 seconds left
Orange advance to the national semifinals for the 27th time
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Top-seed Syracuse scored three goals in the final 3 minutes, 4 seconds to rally for a 7-6 NCAA tournament quarterfinal victory against Yale (12-5) at Maryland's Byrd Stadium on Saturday.
Dylan Donahue capped the comeback, scoring the game-winning goal off a pass from JoJo Marasco with 13 seconds remaining to propel the Orange (15-3) to the national semifinals next weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
"I think this is our ninth one-goal game this year. We lost three by one and this is our sixth win by one," Orange head coach John Desko said. "The guys are used to being in these kinds of situations and made some pretty good adjustments down the stretch to win the game. I thought our defense played great all game long. While we didn't have it at one half, we picked it up on the other side of the field. I'm proud of the guys. Any win this time of year is a great win."
Donahue and Marasco both had one goal and two assists in the victory. Marasco's two assists couldn't have come at better times for the Orange. He assisted on Luke Cometti's tying goal with 2:20 left before passing to Donahue for the winner.
To pull off the victory, Syracuse had to crack a Yale defense that shut out the Orange for a 43:18 span, by far the team's longest scoring drought of the year.
Early on it didn't appear that goals would be at a premium. Syracuse stormed out to a 4-0 advantage and led 4-1 after the first 15 minutes. Derek Maltz had two goals in the opening period and Marasco and Cometti each had one. But Maltz's tally at the 1:22 mark proved to be Syracuse's last for nearly three quarters.
Brandon Mangan finally got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with four seconds left in the first period to cut the deficit to three, and Yale's Conrad Oberbeck tallied the only goal of the second quarter when he collected a missed shot and beat goalie Dominic Lamolinara low to make it 4-2 at the half.
In the third quarter, Mangan and Oberbeck scored nine seconds apart, at 5:23 and 5:14, respectively, to tie the score at 4. Then with 25 seconds left in the quarter, Mangan found the cage again to hand the Bulldogs their first lead of game, 5-4.
Yale eventually stretched its advantage to two, 6-4, on an unassisted goal by Michael Lipin two minutes into the fourth quarter, but it was all Syracuse after that.
Rice started the Orange comeback with an unassisted goal with 3:04 left in regulation. Then Cometti finished a Marasco feed less than a minute later to tie it at 6.
Yale nearly retook the lead when Oberbeck got free on the crease, but Lamolinara stepped out to meet him and stuffed his point-blank shot with less than 90 seconds left to give the ball back to Syracuse.
The Orange cleared successfully after Lamolinara's spectacular stop and Desko called a timeout with 55 seconds to play. Desko decided to put the ball in Marasco's stick on the restart and Marasco probed the Yale defense for several seconds before Donahue popped free. Marasco threw the ball to him inside and Donahue buried it with 13 ticks left to put the Orange up 7-6.
Dylan Levings kept the Bulldogs' slim hopes alive by winning the ensuing faceoff which led to a quick Harry Kucharczyk shot that sailed wide. Yale head coach Andy Shay took his final timeout with four seconds left to draw up a play, but Lamolinara intercepted Mangan's pass as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Maltz and Cometti each had two goals to lead the Orange. Lamolinara finished with nine saves in his first trip back to Byrd Stadium since transferring from Maryland after the 2011 season.
Mangan totaled a game-high three goals for the Bulldogs. Oberbeck added two. Yale goalie Eric Natale had 11 saves, including seven in the first half.