The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will travel to the Carrier Dome at 5 PM on Saturday to take on the Syracuse Orange in a game that will be broadcast on ESPNU. Notre Dame entered last week coming off of a 9-7 win at home against Virginia when it suffered a one goal loss at home against the Michigan Wolverines and then finished out the week with a one goal win at Ohio State. Meanwhile, the Orange put away a top tier Duke Blue Devils team last week to bring SU to a 4-3 record.
The scoring on this Irish team is coming primarily from four players, all known commodities. For whatever reason offensive guru Kevin Corrigan prefers to not start his leading scorer and star attackman Ryder Garnsey who had a 43 point year in 2017 and has picked up 13 goals and six assists thus far. Fellow attackman Mikey Wynne will start on Saturday. Watch him on the crease, he’ll be looking for an inside feed and any garbage GBs on the turf. Syracuse will have to do a nice job of keeping an eye on him off-ball, and the defense has certainly gotten caught week kneed inside all season.
Midfielder Brendan Gleason returns as the only player to score two or more against Syracuse in 2017. The Vermont native had a bust out year as a sophomore with 25 goals and is about on pace to reach that again in 2018.
Gleason will be saddled with Bryan Constable, a kid who came to Notre Dame as the 8th ranked midfielder in the country and started every game in his freshman year with 17 goals which he nearly already has through seven games in 2018.
Defensively this is a young group with a freshman, sophomore, and junior starting at close defense. In net, Notre Dame’s Matt Schmidt brings a .485 save percentage to put up against Dom Madonna’s “it’s not what it looks like” .437.
This is not the Notre Dame team I thought it was in the beginning of the year. This is a very winnable game, as long as SU decides to show up. John Travisano Jr. will be taking faceoffs, and he will certainly not be a push over. At this point I don’t think there’s any loyalty to one guy in the Sandbox, whoever gets it done on any give day is the way it’s gone and the way it should go. I do believe redshirt sophomore Nick Martin who is eight of nine on the year and went five of five in the final five faceoffs against Duke has earned another shot.
This is the 2018 SU offense in a nutshell: SU’s leading scorer has been held without a goal in three of seven games. That’s wild. There has to be some sort of consistency on this offense, if not then this up and down stuff is just going to continue, and continue to drive me crazy.
No matter what happens though, these BS penalties have to end. We’re not talking about a push from behind that was sort of from the side, we’re talking about over-the-top flag-drawing penalties. Tyson Bomberry alone last week had an illegal hit to the head and a crosscheck to the neck, that’s three minutes of penalty time right there, and this is a team that’s 58th in the country in man-down defense so it’s not like this isn’t hurting.
If ‘Cuse can win about half the faceoffs, keep their heads cool, and find a scorer this a game that could easily go the way of the Orange. An additional benefit is that a win on Saturday would guarantee that Syracuse gets a spot in the ACC Tournament.