The Orange finished victorious in what was an unexpectedly chippy game. With Syracuse up 6-1 with 13:32 to go in the first period, Kevin Rice put away a goal on the crease and got leveled from behind by Ben Willett after the goal. Rice quickly got up and started chirping with another Marist defender Karl Kreshpane. The Red Foxes received a one-minute, non-releasable penalty for a hit to the head on the call, but SU failed to convert on the extra-man opportunity. It would not be nearly the final penalty for Marist as the Red Foxes gave up four EMOs to Syracuse including getting called for three penalties on one possession. SU went 2-4 on the man-up and held Marist to 1-3.
As for Kevin Rice, the senior finished with nine points on the day, a career high. Only Gary and Paul Gait have totaled more points in a Tournament game. It looked like that cheap shot hit on Rice really sparked him. In fact after his first goal, Rice went on to get either the goal or assist on the next four Syracuse scores. He ended his night with four goals and five assists, putting him tied for fourth in Syracuse history for most assists in a Tournament game.
For me, the story of the game, beyond making it out of the first round, was Jordan Evans. The sophomore had six career goals and four goals this season and had never had a multi-goal game coming into this match. Sunday night, however, the man wearing the infamous #22 lived up to his number, banking in five goals on six shots on net. Three of the five came in the first quarter with the other two finding the back of the net in the fourth period. Evans' five goals is one away from tying a Syracuse record for most goals scored in a Tournament game.
Nine Syracuse players scored a goal and five players had multi-goal games including Dylan Donahue. The junior put up three goals and two assists.
It wasn't just on the scoreboard in which Syracuse dominated as the Orange also crushed the Red Foxes statistically as well. Marist had a lot of trouble clearing, and honestly I was surprised at the aggressiveness of the Syracuse ride. The Orange caused 11 turnovers including three on the ride. In terms of groundballs, Syracuse picked up 46 while limiting Marist to just 17. The Orange put 34 shots on net while Marist managed just 15. That's a pretty impressive number for Syracuse, as they had 47 shots in total for a .723 shots on goal percentage.
At the faceoff X Ben Williams went 15-22. Williams took the first eight matchups in the first quarter but in the second period he lost all six. Williams' 10 groundballs was two short of tying a Syracuse record held by Gary Gait for most groundballs in a Tournament game. Cal Paduda had an impressive game as well, going 6-8.
After graduating in the afternoon, Bobby Wardwell wasn't asked to do a whole lot, facing just 12 shots on net. Wardwell had a tremendous diving save in the third quarter and finished his day in the fourth with six saves and six goals against. Warren Hill took over for the final 7:21 of the game, making one save and giving up two goals.
Up next for Syracuse will be its long-time rival, the Johns Hopkins blue Jays. I feel very good about this team right now, but the Jays looked spectacular in its win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday; it will be quite a challenge.
The Syracuse Orange will take on the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The game will take place on Sunday at 12 pm, and can be seen on ESPN2 and heard on WTKW 99.5 FM. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for updates throughout the game.