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Syracuse 11 - Colgate 9: The Orange finish 12-2 going into the NCAA Tournament

Syracuse squeaked out a win against the Colgate Raiders on Saturday, which featured an 82 yard goalie goal from Evan Molloy.

2013 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championships - Semifinals - Syracuse v Denver Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange wrapped up the 2017 regulars season campaign with an 11-9 win over the Colgate Raiders on Saturday. It was said it the post game by Steve Panarelli but he was dead on. This squad has yet to put together a 60 minute game, and today was no different.

On a positive note, Evan Molloy got himself onto the score sheet with a goal, and maybe the longest goal of the year in college lacrosse.

As they have done so many times this year, Syracuse got off to an early lead. Brendan Bomberry had the first goal on a quick restart in an unsettled situation with the pass coming from Joe Gillis. On the next one, it was Bomberry again, rotating up above GLE following behind Matt Lane who hit Bomberry for a nice goal. The third came less than 20 seconds later. Andrew Helmer caused the turnover after the faceoff and SU took it into the box on the run with Bomberry hitting Nate Solomon in a textbook fast break play.

This team is so much fun to watch in unsettled situations and on fast breaks. Time and time again the Orange show so much strength playing on the run. Obviously Bomberry was involved in each of the first three goals for the ‘Cuse and he would finish with three goals and an assist on the day.

But as is too often the case, the Orange took the foot off of the gas and allowed Colgate to get right back in it with three straight goals to finish out the first period. The first goal for Colgate was off the crosse of Anthony Abbadessa who split a double team and drove right to the goal from the wing. Sam Cleveland got the second, catching the pass about 12 yards out and stepping back off of a sliding SU defenseman to get open for the shot.

Tyson Bomberry got flagged for an illegal body check penalty with 42 seconds to go in the period leading to an extra-man goal from Cleveland with only 22.6 seconds to go in the quarter.

The first period ended. After the whistle Brendan Bomberry appeared to stumble into the back of goalie Brandon Burke. Didn’t shove him or hit him hard, just sort of bumped him lightly. In response, Strecker Backe put Bomberry on the turf. The referee, who stood just feet away, did nothing. It wasn’t a close call. Syracuse should have gone into the second man-up, but the referees didn’t really seem to mind the post-whistle hits from Colgate which continued to come throughout the game.

With the score tied at three, Syracuse went on another three goal run in the second. Jordan Evans had a crazy goal, coming up and around cage and putting a backhanded shovel shot into the net. The cherry on top? It was a bouncer. His long-pole never really was able to catch up with him throughout the play. Several minutes later, Chase Wittich hit the crossbar on a shot which rebounded all the way to the midfield. Syracuse was able to recover the ball but immediately lost it, sending the ball towards the Colgate net. Stephen Rehfuss picked it up about five yards off crease and tried to pass it to Nate Solomon who sat on the side of the crease. Rehfuss was hit by Brandon Burke who came out of the net to make the play but Solomon was able to collect it out of the air and score on the empty net to put Syracuse up 5-3. Just over four minutes later it was Jamie Trimboli who showed off a cannon on a tremendous shot from deep.

Colgate finished out the scoring in the first half. Off of the ensuing faceoff, faceoff man Collin Orr won the duel and took it straight to the box where he hit Cleveland who took the shot which hit the inside of the crossbar before bouncing out.

Syracuse went into the halftime up 6-4 on Colgate. After a fairly mild first half, the rain began to come pelting down going into halftime, soaking the field.

Colgate continued to press in the third period with three straight. The first came from Robby Dunigan who caught a pass while on the crease and buried it. Chase Wittich had the equalizer on a pass from Cleveland, Wittich stepped off of a sliding defender to score his only goal of the game. The final goal of the run, featured Cleveland from behind cage getting a pass through a crowded crease to an unguarded Anthony Abbadessa on the crease who banked it in. The Syracuse interior defense looked a little lost during the third period.

The Orange were able to get two more in the third during a four goal run that started in the third and ended in the fourth. With just over six minutes to go, Sergio Salcido at the top of the box found Bomberry in the center who turned and fired for a fantastic goal while guarded. Salcido actually scored the next one with the assist from Jordan Evans. The shot was a beauty as Salcido had two guys on him and found a way to release a low-to-low shot with a tight release. It was Salcido’s only goal of the day but he had two assists to boot.

Heading into the fourth quarter Syracuse had a one-goal lead (gasp), up 8-7 on the ‘Gate. Of course, after the end-of-period whistle we were treated to another late hit from the Raiders. No call obviously.

On the opening faceoff of the fourth period, Collin Orr received an unsportsmanlike penalty which is a one-minute, non-releasable call. Jordan Evans was able to take advantage on the man-up. Salcido found Evans on the crease, unguarded. Evans through a fake to get Burke to move and then went high to put SU up by two. After the goal, a late-sliding Colgate defenseman hit Evans. Another late hit in front of the ref with no whistle. Evans may have said something to him but was ushered in the other direction by a teammate. Several minutes later Nate Solomon, with the ball, elevated off of the goal line and hit Pat Carlin with a pass as he cut downwards towards the net. Carlin avoided the defenseman and put it in the back of the net to give SU the 10-7 advantage.

With 6:14 remaining, Peter Donato took the ball into the box and never really picked up a defender. Donato was able to find some room for a midrange shot that beat Molloy.

Syracuse called a timeout with 2:21 to go in the game. On the restart, Jordan Evans held the ball and was immediately double teamed with Brandon Burke out of the net to defend. Colgate caused the turnover almost immediately with Burke grabbing the groundball and leading to a goal from Cleveland with 1:32 left in regulation and Syracuse holding on to a 10-9 lead.

The Orange won the next faceoff, got it into the zone and called a timeout just before Rehfuss lost the ball on what would have been a nice caused turnover. The Colgate players were very agitated, one of whom appeared to be screaming at the referees. Again, on the restart Colgate doubled the ball and caused an immediate turnover. After a timeout by the ‘Gate, the Orange were able to cause a turnover but turned it over on the clear, right around the midfield area. The Raiders grabbed the GB but went offsides. Syracuse got the ball downfield on a quick restart and found an open net but Jordan Evans’ cross field pass to Nate Solomon went just out of the reach of Solomon leading to a final Colgate possession.

With 17.3 seconds remaining in the game and Colgate down by one, it looked like the Raiders would get one more opportunity and Mike Murphy called a timeout to draw up a clear and a final play.

The game restarted with Peter Donato passing to Will Blumenberg who took the ball up and across the midfield but Donato also crossed over and the Raiders went offsides. Two offsides calls against Colgate in the final minute, wild.

No final shot, no buzzer beater.

But wait! With six seconds remaining on the clock Syracuse restarted in the defensive end and passed it back to Molloy who was below goal line extended. Molloy wound up and took an 82-yard shot which bounced about a yard off of the goal line and then into the net which stood empty as Burke had already evacuated the crease. GOALIE GOAL!

It looked like the buzzer sounded while the ball was still in the air, but our rules expert @BH_Orange44 clarified the rule:

Saturday was not a pretty game. Coming off of the loss to UNC, all the talk coming out of the Syracuse locker room was about how this was a wake up game for this team going into NCAA Tournament time. Not sure if that is actually the case.

In net, I thought both goalies played well. Burke was aggressive all game making seven saves on the day while Molloy had several point blank stops and made nine in total although one should be credited to his sweatpants.

For the first time this season, Nick Mariano was held without a point. Bomberry and Evans were the only multi-goal scoring players for Syracuse. Defensively, I was disappointed that Sam Cleveland was allowed four goals. The defense did not play him tight enough, although some of that may be due to the slick surface. The defense allowed 43 shots today, but only 18 on net.

Syracuse coughed up a season high 17 turnovers on Saturday, six of which came from Jordan Evans. Going the other way, the Orange caused five turnovers.

At the faceoff X, Ben Williams went 16 of 23 and snagged two groundballs. In the first half he went 9-12 but followed that up with a 2-6 third period.