DOWN AND BACK: Syracuse scores 7 4th-quarter goals to pull off stunning comeback over Rutgers

first_imgOne more open look for Syracuse went unfinished. Again, Kris Alleyne stopped a shot the Orange normally buries. And again, Rutgers rushed the other way with numbers.Only this time, the game was tied with 22 seconds left and the Scarlet Knights breakaway promised to ruin SU’s Senior Day for good. Andrew Parrilla sprinted within 15 yards of Dominic Lamolinara’s goal with the kind of clear shooting lane Rutgers had buried shots through all day.But JoJo Marasco made a full-body dive, catching Parrilla from behind and checking the ball loose. Brian Megill scooped it up, sprinted 50 yards straight through midfield to the Rutgers crease and flipped the ball to Derek Maltz to skip into the left netting.“I tried to cut (Parrilla) off a little bit, let him know that I was right on his back,” Marasco said, “and I think that worked out great.”Rutgers missed routine passes, dropped balls and struggled to simply clear the ball. For three quarters, though, Syracuse was worse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut in the fourth, the No. 7 Orange (9-2, 3-1 Big East) unleashed a full-field blitz to erase 45 minutes of wasteful shooting, stunning saves from Alleyne, loose defense and faceoff impotence. SU’s veterans spearheaded the comeback, tearing off seven goals in the fourth quarter. Cal Paduda slowed down Joseph Nardella at the faceoff X, and with the Scarlet Knights (2-11, 0-5 Big East) still making the same mistakes that had plagued them all game, Syracuse finally punished them for it in front of a Carrier Dome crowd of 4,048.“Everyone started to come together and our offense played like we’ve played all year,” Marasco said. “…So I think it came together quickly.”It had to.When the Orange took the field for the fourth quarter, the game seemed loss. SU trailed by five, and couldn’t get its scorers the ball.But just 1:14 into the final period, Luke Cometti took the Orange’s second shot of the quarter and buried it. Marasco fed him again two and a half minutes later to close the score to 10-7 Rutgers. Suddenly a comeback seemed viable.“Coaches really reiterated that we should stick with our game plan and that we were just playing sloppy, and we knew we had openings, we knew we could go at their guys,” Cometti said. “And our team, our offense was making it a lot easier to find me, guys like JoJo playing with their heads up makes it a lot easier.”Cometti scored a career-high six goals on the day, four in seven and a half fourth-quarter minutes. He glided through the Rutgers zone seemingly invisible and finished chances identical to ones he and his offensive teammates sprayed wide or had saved by Alleyne in the first three quarters.Each early missed chance had given confidence to Rutgers team that was overmatched on paper. The Scarlet Knights’ opener was Anthony Terranova cleaning up a messy rebound, the second capitalized on a man-down breakaway. RU led, but tentatively. By the second quarter, though, RU was popping the ball around the perimeter with authority, realizing the upset was becoming a reality.“You see that we started turning the ball over on clears, making saves and turning it over, giving the ball right back to them and they’re scoring,” Marasco said. “Second-chance opportunities can’t happen. It definitely felt like Villanova all over again.”But as seamlessly as Rutgers took control of the game, Syracuse tore it away. Paduda jammed up Nardella on faceoffs, long enough for wings like Matt Harris and Steve Ianzito to sweep in and take the ball. SU won eight faceoffs, and half of them came in the fourth quarter.The sudden injection of possession fed the starved offense, and it responded hungrily, finally devouring the chances it created on its rare possession earlier in the game.The fight back was stunning. Rutgers had no response aside from a Terranova goal with 5:40 remaining. Maltz made it irrelevant, burying on the net-crashing cuts he’s famous for – once on a 10-yard dart down the right hashes and again on the busted open last scramble with 10 seconds left.The sloppy game Rutgers owned for three quarters could be forgotten for 15 minutes of Orange brilliance.With 10 seconds left, Paduda crouched down for what he hoped was the last, game-killing faceoff to end an emotionally upside-down day.Said Paduda in the postgame press conference of those last 10 seconds: “It felt like two quarters.” Comments Published on April 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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