Vedder helps to Lift #1 Cornell Past Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. ? Sophomore Max Seibald scored an unassisted goal with four seconds left in regulation to lift No. 1 Cornell (9-0) to a 16-15 win against No. 18 Syracuse (3-6) at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, April 10. Seibald's score spoiled a furious rally by SU, which scored three straight goals in the fourth quarter to tie its Central New York neighbor, and overcame two six-goal deficits in the first half to take the top team in the country to the wire.
With the Orange trailing 15-12 and less than four minutes remaining, sophomore Greg Niewieroski, who finished with a career-best five goals, ignited a three-goal run for SU when he scored off a feed from junior Mike Leveille with 3:42 to play. Sophomore Dan Hardy found the back of the cage 19 seconds later to pull the Orange within one, and junior Steven Brooks fired a laser from 15 yards out past Cornell goaltender Matt McMonagle with 28 seconds to go to tie the contest.
The drama continued to unfold as the Big Red gained control of the ensuing draw after SU face-off ace Jon Jerome had his stick checked out of his hands. Cornell pushed the ball into the offensive zone with eight seconds left before calling a timeout. Seibald restarted play for the Big Red following the stoppage, drove around SU defender Steve Panarelli and dove across the crease for the winning score. It was Seibald's only goal of the game.
"I just want to congratulate Cornell," SU head coach John Desko said after the match. "They came into a very hostile environment and got off to a great start, and at the end Max (Seibald) showed why he might be the top midfielder in the country with a great play to win the game.
"I give a lot of credit to our guys. To be down like that against a team like Cornell and come back, especially in the fourth quarter, showed a lot of heart. I thought we played much closer to our potential tonight."
In addition to its three-goal deficit in the fourth period, SU also trailed 7-1 and 8-2 in the first half before rallying to get back into the game.
The Big Red registered three goals in just over two minutes to open up a 3-0 first-quarter lead. John Glynn opened the scoring by dodging down the alley and burying a shot at the 11:47 mark. Cornell won the ensuing faceoff, leading to a David Mitchell goal in transition, his 23rd tally of the season. Casey Lewis punctuated the sequence by finding Eric Pittard on the crease in another unsettled situation for an easy score at 9:45 of the opening period.
The Big Red added three more scores in the period to claim a 6-0 margin before a right-hand rocket by Niewieroski from 10 yards away on an extra-man opportunity got the Orange on the board with 12 seconds left in the quarter.
Cornell continued its offensive barrage in the second period. After a sensational save by SU's Peter Coluccini, Henry Bartlett collected the ground ball and, as he was falling, threaded a pass to Mitchell for a goal to increase the Big Red margin to 7-1 with 11:14 to go in the half.
The Orange offense sprang to life in the later part of the quarter, reeling five of the game's next six goals to cut the Big Red lead to two, 8-6, at the intermission. Niewieroski keyed the SU run with consecutive goals to finish with three in the half. Sophomores Kenny Nims, Matt Abbott, and graduate student Greg Rommel also netted goals in the spurt.
The two squads traded tallies in the third quarter, but three straight scores, one each by Pat Perritt, Brooks, and Rommel knotted the game at 10 goals apiece. Rommel capped the run with 15-yard rocket off a feed from Nims, who dashed from behind the cage to find Rommel wide open for the score.
The Big Red also showed some grit of their own, by responding to tally the final two goals of the third quarter to take a 13-12 advantage into the final stanza. It pushed the lead to 15-12 on consecutive scores by Glynn and Casey Lewis before the Orange stormed back to tie it.
Niewieroski's five-goal outburst was the most by an SU player this season and marked his first career hat trick. Syracuse also got three goals from Brooks and two each from Perritt and Rommel. Rommel finished the game with three points, equaling his career high.
Coluccini played his best game of the year in the cage for the Orange. He made a career-best 22 saves in the contest, including 12 in the first half, to keep the game close. He is the first SU goaltender since Jay Pfeifer in 2005 to post at least 20 saves in a game.
Jerome also matched a career-best against the Big Red, winning 18 faceoffs, and helping the Orange to a dominating 24-10 performance on draws in the game. Jerome also won 18 faceoffs against Binghamton on March 24.
Pittard and Mitchell each finished with four goals to pace the Big Red attack. Pittard also notched three assists to finish with seven points. Seibald contributed three assists in addition to his game-winner for a total of four points.
McMonagle made 11 saves in the cage.
The Orange continues its three-game homestand on Sunday, April 15 when it hosts Rutgers at 1:00 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. SU needs to win its remaining four games to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.