May 18, 2008
ITHACA, N.Y. – Third-seeded Syracuse scored the game’s last three goals to take an 11-9 decision over sixth-seeded Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon in front of 6,121 fans at Schoellkopf Field. The Fighting Irish end the 2008 season with a 14-3 record.
Syracuse (14-2) jumped out to a 6-2 advantage at halftime, yet Notre Dame (14-3) came storming back to take the lead by scoring five straight goals to open the third quarter. The Irish used a sound defensive effort, including a season-high 19 saves from senior goaltender Joey Kemp (Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep), to remain within striking range at the half despite getting out shot 30-14 in the opening 30 minutes.
Notre Dame’s second-half surge began with an unassisted goal from Michael Podgajny (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley) just 26 seconds into the stanza. Podgajny, Alex Wharton (Baltimore, Md./Gilman) and Peter Christman (Simsbury, Conn./Westminster School) all led the Irish with two goals. Wharton also chipped in team-high two assists.
A goal from Christman and a man-up tally from Grant Krebs (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary’s) sliced the Orange lead to one (6-5) with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter. Notre Dame knotted the affair on a goal from Wharton and Christman gave the Irish their first lead of the game at 7-6 with 5:02 left in the third quarter.
Syracuse put an end to the Irish uprising as Greg Niewieroski scored with 1:59 left in the third period. Notre Dame regained the momentum as Wharton buried his second goal to make it an 8-7 contest after three quarters of play.
The Orange struck first in the final stanza behind a goal from Mike Leveille with 13:26 on the clock to tie the game once again. Notre Dame grabbed the lead back as Zach Brenneman found the back of the net with 10:03 left in the game. That would be the final goal of the contest for the Fighting Irish.
Syracuse netted its third equalizer in less than a quarter of play as Patrick Perritt found the back of the net with 6:23 remaining. Dan Hardy put the Orange up for good as he completed his hat trick with 5:05 showing on the clock. A goal form Steven Brooks with 3:14 left would be the final score of the game.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” said Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan, whose Irish squad tied a program record with 14 wins this season. “I’m disappointed we weren’t able to pull it off. We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, but I’m proud of how our guys came back and I think they played their hearts out. Give credit to Syracuse. When we came back and got up on them, they didn’t fold and they made plays at the end of the game and that’s to their credit.”
Syracuse struck first in the contest on a goal from Matt Abbott with 10:50 left in the first quarter. The Fighting Irish got on the board with 8:19 left in the first quarter as Ryan Hoff (Baldwin, Md./Dulaney) netted his team-leading, and career-best, 41st goal of the season.
The Orange responded with four straight goals to take a 5-1 lead by the 4:06 mark of the first half. Man-up tallies from Hardy and Stephen Keogh started the surge and gave the Orange a 3-1 at the end of the first period. The run continued as Steven Brooks and Hardy scored to produce a four-goal advantage for Syracuse.
Notre Dame cut into the lead as Podgajny scored with 3:00 remaining in the first half. Syracuse responded 18 seconds later when Kenny Nims deposited a goal to make it 6-2 in favor of the Orange at the intermission.
The Orange controlled possession in the contest and held a 48-34 advantage in shots. Freshman goalie John Galloway made 11 saves, including some crucial stops in the fourth quarter. Syracuse’s Danny Brennan went 17-for-24 in faceoffs. Taylor Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha) took the majority of faceoffs for the Irish and went 5-for-21.
“I didn’t think we played bad, we just never had the ball,” added Corrigan. “It’s awfully hard to play against `make-it-take-it’, and that’s what it was the whole first half. We wanted so badly to do something when we did have the ball that we got away from our plan offensively and that hurt us a little bit.”
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#5 Notre Dame (14-3) – 1 1 6 1 – 9
#3 Syracuse (14-2) – 3 3 1 4 – 11
Notre Dame Scoring (goals-assists):
Alex Wharton 2-2, Michael Podgajny 2-1, Peter Christman 2-1, Ryan Hoff 1-0, Grant Krebs 1-0, Zach Brenneman 1-0, Duncan Swezey 0-1, Neal Hicks 0-1; Goaltender: Joey Kemp (L, 60:00, 19 saves, 11 GA)
Syracuse Scoring (goals-assists):
Dan Hardy 3-1, Steven Brooks 2-0, Mike Leveille 1-2, Kenny Nims 1-1, Matt Abbott 1-1, Greg Niewieroski 1-0, Patrick Perritt 1-0, Stephen Keogh 1-0; Goaltender: John Galloway (W, 60:00, 11 saves, 9 GA)