No. 9 Syracuse Knocks off No. 2 Notre Dame at Big City Classic

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. No. 9 Syracuse (11-3, 5-1 Big East) outscored Notre Dame 9-1 in the second half and defeated the second-ranked Irish, 10-4, in the second game of the Konica Minolta Big City Classic in front of 19,875 fans at MetLife Stadium Saturday, April 27.

The Orange clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title for the third time in four years with the victory. Villanova, which defeated Providence Saturday, tied the Orange atop the conference standings at 5-1.

Redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue and sophomore Kevin Rice keyed the Orange's big second half against Notre Dame (10-3, 4-2 Big East). Donahue had a career-high four points (three goals, one assist), all of which came in the fourth quarter, as the Orange outscored the Irish 6-0 in the final period. Rice also had four points (one goal, three assists) in the contest and was named the Big City Classic Player of the Game.

Goals were a premium the entire night. Neither team scored in the first quarter and Syracuse finished with just one first-half goal, its fewest in any half this season.

"Notre Dame was the team we expected," Orange head coach John Desko said. "They were so stingy defensively. You saw it, especially in the first half. We had to work really hard to get shots off, and their goalie (John Kemp) showed why he was a first team All-American (last year) in the first half."

With the score 0-0, Notre Dame's Ryan Foley finally broke the ice with 11:04 to go in the half to put the Irish up, 1-0. Redshirt sophomore Hakeem Lecky evened the score at 1-1 when he fired a shot from 10 yards out past Kemp less than two minutes later, but two Notre Dame goals in the waning minutes of the period made the score 3-1 Irish at the break.

In the third quarter, Orange used a 3-0 run to take its first lead of the game, 4-3, just 4:31 into the second half. Sophomore Matt Walters started the run with a man-up goal 12 seconds in off a pass from freshman Derek DeJoe. Senior JoJo Marasco and Henry Schoonmaker also scored for Syracuse during the stretch.

The Irish evened the score at four apiece when Matt Kavanagh scored unassisted with 4:58 left in the third quarter. However, it proved to be the Irish's last goal of the game as the Orange dominated the fourth period.

It was Rice who ignited the fourth-quarter scoring spree by taking advantage of a man-up opportunity and tallying a goal 26 seconds into the frame. Three straight Donahue goals followed, two of which were assisted by Rice, to extend the Orange lead to 8-4 with 4:43 left. Lecky and junior Scott Loy capped the run with late goals, sealing the win.

Overall, the Orange scored on six of its nine shots in the fourth quarter and Kemp did not make a save for the Irish in the deciding period.

Defensively, Syracuse shut out the Irish for the final 19:58 and surrendered just one goal in the last 34:27 of the game. Goalie Dominic Lamolinara anchored the unit with six saves and the Orange successfully killed all five Notre Dame man-up chances in the contest.

Kavanagh led the Irish with two goals. Foley and Westy Hopkins were Notre Dame's other two goal scorers. Kemp totaled nine saves in the contest, seven of which were in the first half.

The Orange outshot Notre Dame, 32-24. Syracuse also held the advantage in ground balls (29-19) and faceoffs (9-7) for the game.

Syracuse is the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament setting up a rematch with third-seeded Notre Dame in the semifinals Thursday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. at Villanova. The Wildcats are the top seed by virtue their head-to-head win against the Orange and will play fourth-seeded Georgetown in the other semifinal at 4:30 p.m.

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