The Notre Dame Fighting Irish average just over 10 goals per game, but on Saturday against the Syracuse Orange, they scored 17. With the final score 17-7, the Orange walk away with room to improve. Let's go through a quick list of issues from today's game
- Warren Hill is not going to win you a National Championship. His positioning is awful and his stick is bad. One of the basic pillars of goaltending is holding the pipe when you have a shooter on goal line extended or at a bad angle, I don't know why but Hill has a problem doing this and it is driving me nuts. He is actually much better against shooters up close than he is against the long ball or midrange shots. Evan Molloy got a good chunk of game time, subbing in for Hill at 11:18 in the fourth quarter.
- Ben Williams is off. He went 11-23 and has been average the last few games. This team needs Williams to get back to his 2015 form if they want to have any chance.
- Clearing was a disaster. Notre Dame is a good riding team, but SU is one of the best clearing teams in the country yet had eight failed clears. To put that in perspective, SU only had 10 failed clears coming into Saturday.
- The Notre Dame defense did a great job and held Dylan Donahue and Nick Mariano to just one goal each.
- Syracuse regressed defensively, looking more like the team from 2015 then the improved defense we saw earlier in the year. The communication was terrible, slides were late, and shooters like Matt Kavanagh were left open over and over again all over the field
The scoring opened up with Ryder Garnsey hitting the first goal of the game at 13:42 in the first quarter. Garnsey, a freshman attackman, was easily the player of the game putting up five goals and an assist. He had six goals coming into the game, so the inability of the Syracuse defense to cover him was... frustrating. Both teams combined for seven goals in the first quarter with Notre Dame up 5-2 to end the period. It was clear from the get go that Syracuse was outmatched and for some reason didn't come to play. With 2:07 to go in the first, Drew Schantz took the ball coast-to-coast and hit Mikey Wynne on the crease for an easy goal. The Schantz tally illustrated the bad midfield matchup that plagued Syracuse all day.
Dylan Donahue had a rough game. Matt Landis did a tremendous job covering Donahue, but just three seconds into the second quarter, with a shorty on Donahue, Sergio Salcido hit Donny as he cut through the crease to make it 5-3 and giving the senior his 200th career point. Just under a minute later Matt Kavanagh drove down goal line extended. Due to, what appeared to be, bad communication, Kavanagh was left unguarded and the slide to him came extremely late. The Notre Dame senior dove into the crease as he was hit, scoring as Hill left the pipe (6-3 UND). While Nick Mariano responded with a goal, the SU defense fell apart again by allowing Kavanagh to catch the ball, unguarded, on the wing and drive to the crease for an easy goal (7-4 UND). On back-to-back Notre Dame possessions, the defense completely broke down and left Kavanagh, one of the more dangerous players in the nation, wildly open. Kavanagh has had a quiet season but certainly woke up on Saturday for three goals and six assists. My frustration isn't in him scoring, but in the inability to simply put a body on him.
Kyle Trolley finished out the half with a phenomenal, one handed, backhand goal, going low on Hill (9-4 UND). Trolley never scored before this season, and had one goal in 2016 before putting up two on Saturday.
Syracuse put up two goals out of the halftime. With the momentum suddenly appearing to lean in the Orange's favor, Tom Grimm was called for a push with possession off of a faceoff. As a side note, Grimm ended up leaving the game with an injury to his right knee. While the call wasn't a bad call, it definitely went against how the game had been called up to that point, and Coach Desko let the referees know how upset he was. While the Orange killed off the penalty, the defense allowed Garnsey to get open on the wing just three seconds after the all even call (10-6 UND).
With the Irish on a three-goal run, Tim Barber threw a fake shot and was able to move away from his defender to hit Jordan Evans cutting through the top of the crease (12-7 UND). Evans was one of the few bright spots for the Orange, putting up three goals as the only multi-goal scorer for Syracuse and only giving the ball away once. He actually looked pretty good off-ball, which was a nice change of pace. This would be the final goal of the game for SU.
Seriously, Syracuse went scoreless for the final 19:55 of the game.
The Orange gave up two more goals to finish out the third quarter down 14-7. Notre Dame went on to lay on three more points in the fourth quarter leaving the final score 17-7.
An ugly game for Syracuse Orange who will most certainly fall out of the top ten next week.