KENNESAW, Ga. – Top-ranked Syracuse (5-0) outscored St. John’s by a 12-2 margin in the second half to rally from a 4-0 deficit and defeat the Red Storm, 14-6, in the 2015 Cobb County Classic on Saturday, March 7 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
“Give some credit to St. John’s. I thought they played really hard in the first and second quarter,” Orange head coach John Desko said. “The guys were a little bit asleep. We finally woke up at the end of the second quarter and going into the second half. We played a lot smarter and that guy over there (Ben Williams) gave us a lot of possessions after goals to help get us back in the flow of the game.”
Starting attackmen Kevin Rice, Randy Staats and Dylan Donahue combined 16 points in the victory. Staats tied his career high with five goals and added an assist to finish with a game-high six points. Rice scored once and dished out a game-best four assists, while Donahue contributed two goals and a career-high tying three helpers.
Williams won 13-of-19 (.684) faceoffs to propel the Orange to a 14-7 advantage at the X.
St. John’s (1-5) tallied the game’s first four goals and kept Syracuse off the scoreboard for the opening 27:45. Eric DeJohn, who transferred from Syracuse to St. John’s after the 2013 season, factored in three of the Red Storm’s goals during the run. He scored twice and recorded one assist.
Staats finally broke the SU dry spell by finishing a Rice pass with 2:15 remaining in the first half. The senior found the cage again 39 seconds before the break to trim the St. John’s lead to 4-2 at the half.
In the second half, it was all Syracuse. The Orange scored the first five goals of the third quarter, including one by Jordan Evans at the 2:37 mark that pushed the SU lead to 7-4.
St. John’s closed the gap to 7-6 on consecutive extra-man goals by Corey Haynes in the last minute of the third quarter, but Syracuse scored four times in the opening four minutes of the final period, including a pair of goals by Staats, to pull away.
Syracuse goalie Bobby Wardwell totaled nine saves to earn the win, including six stops in the second half. St. John’s netminder Harry Burke finished with 10 saves.
DeJohn’s three points paced the Red Storm, but he was held without a point by defenseman Brandon Mullins for the final 51:26 of the game after his initial offensive surge. Haynes matched DeJohn for team-high honors with two goals. Jackson O’Leary contributed two assists.
The Orange outshot the Red Storm, 40-22, including a 24-10 advantage in the second half. Syracuse also collected 42 ground balls to 27 for St. John’s.
Syracuse returns to action on Saturday, March 14 when it hosts nemesis Johns Hopkins at the Carrier Dome. Faceoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on ESPNU.
Game Notes: Tim Barber tied his career high with two points (1 goal, 1 assist) … LSM Peter Macartney bagged the third goal of his career in the fourth quarter … Eleven of the Orange’s 14 goals were assisted … Syracuse improved to 9-0 all-time against St. John’s and 4-0 all-time in games played in Georgia … The Orange shut out the Red Storm in the fourth period, the third scoreless quarter for the Syracuse defense this season … Syracuse has not allowed double-digit goals so far this season and extended its winning streak to 25 games when keeping its opponent to fewer than 10 goals.
all photos Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Sports