Where to begin?
Maybe the overtime faceoff that saw Virginia win their 16th faceoff compared to Syracuse's five that gave the Cavaliers a shot to win the game. Maybe it's Kevin Rice's goal from his self proclaimed sweet spot and the Tebowing afterward to celebrate the Orange's 9-8 overtime win. Brian Megill said we should start earlier than all of that.
"Hamlin laid a big hit on Cockranton right near the crease and I think that was the turning point of the game," said Megill in the post game press conference which was one of the longest I've ever sat through. (31 minutes of audio)
The team wanted this one from the get go. The Orange battled back from down 0-2 in the first quarter with a 4 goal run. Virginia then answered with a four goal run of their own that saw plenty of back and forth action with (what felt like) most of the missed shots clanging off posts. The Orange went down to the Cavaliers 6-4 at the half and I'm assuming Coach John Desko and Megill teamed up for a Miracle type speech for the ages.
The game was squarely Syracuse's in the third as the Orange scored three unanswered and shut out the Cavaliers to take a seven six lead into the fourth. The the fourth quarter happened. Syracuse struck what appeared to be a dagger with their eighth goal only to see Virginia rally with two goals within a minute of each other. The final 10 minutes of action saw no goals, lots of chances and another overtime game.
In the overtime, Syracuse lost the faceoff only to see a rushed shot by Virginia sail high. The Orange responded with a timeout and with only a minute left in the extra fram, Kevin Rice mailed it home.
The win is a huge boost for the program right now. Albany looks farther away in the review mirrors and the Orange will see a nice jump in the polls this week. The Orange will kick off Big East play this week with the Whitman's Sampler Independence Classic against St. John's on ESPN 3.
- Brandon Mullins went down in the second half with a nasty knee injury. He was clearly in pain and Desko said they wouldn't know more until x-rays. Mullins limped off with the help of two trainers.
- JoJo Marasco recorded his 100th career point, a nice milestone for the 22.
- The Orange got KILLED in the faceoffs (16-5) and will surely need to find a way to improve on this against quality opponents. The Orange defense is good enough to mitigate this weakness to an extent, but this was the only glaring hole in a brilliant performance.
- Finally, here's your weekly dose of my favorite Brain Megill bites, this time answering my question about stick on stick action. Brian Megill Postgame vs UVA