SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Third-ranked Syracuse (4-0, 1-0 ACC) posted its third consecutive win against a ranked opponent, beating No. 5 Virginia (3-1, 0-1 ACC) at the Carrier Dome 15-9 Sunday, March 1.
Syracuse held the Cavaliers scoreless for the first 26:21 of the game and led 8-1 at the half en route to a six-goal triumph in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
"I think we had a really good effort today, especially at the beginning of the game," SU head coach John Desko said. "I think our team was well-prepared coming in as far as who the personnel were they were going to cover today and what they would like to do offensively and defensively. Just a complete effort to have the score the way it was in the first half. I think any coach in the country would be happy with that effort."
Kevin Rice led the Orange with a season-high seven points on three goals and four assists. Nicky Galasso tied his career high with four goals, including three in the first half, and Dylan Donahuescored three goals to record his third hat trick of the season.
Syracuse dominated the opening quarter, outshooting the Cavaliers 14-4 and winning five out of six faceoffs. Galasso netted consecutive goals to give SU a 2-0 lead before Virginia had an offensive possession. Rice, Paolo Ciferri and Derek DeJoe also scored in the period to make it 5-0 Cuse after one.
The Orange lead swelled to 7-0 in the second quarter before Greg Coholan scored unassisted to snap the Virginia scoring drought with 3:39 to go before intermission. However, Syracuse came right back as Galasso tallied his third goal of the half to push the Orange advantage to 8-1 at the break.
The Cavaliers bagged two of the first three goals in the third quarter, but a 3-0 Orange run that included Tom Grimm's first career goal extended the SU lead to 12-3.
Virginia outscored Syracuse by a 5-3 margin in the fourth quarter, but never got closer than six goals the rest of the way.
Coholan, Ryan Tucker and Zed Williams each had two goals apiece for Virginia. The Cavaliers also received a tremendous performance from goalie Matt Barrett who made a career-high 20 saves.
Orange goalie Bobby Wardwell tied his season high with 11 saves to improve to 4-0 on the season and 18-6 for his career.
Syracuse dominated the statistics, holding huge advantages in shots (50-31), ground balls (31-18) and faceoffs (20-7). The hosts also converted on five of its seven extra-man opportunities.
Faceoff specialists Ben Williams and Zack Vehar played key roles in Syracuse's possession advantage. Williams won 15 of 19 (.789) faceoffs and collected 12 ground balls, one short of his career high. Vehar claimed 5 of 7 (.714) draws in his first extended action of the season.