Chester, Pa. – A quick take on Syracuse’s thrilling, buzzer-beating 16-15 defeat of Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Friday evening at picturesque but rainy and windy PPL Park, along the Delaware River south of Philadelphia:
WHAT HAPPENED: Dylan Donahue’s goal with under :01 left gave the Orange (10-3) an improbable comeback win to stun the Blue Devils (12-3) who went up a goal with 3:15 to play, only to see SU incredibly score twice in the game’s final 14 seconds. Donahue finished with four goals and two assists, and SU out-scored Duke 8-5 in the second half including five of the game’s final six scores.
WHAT IT MEANS: That the ‘Cuse finally shed the monkey off its back against Duke, winning for the first time in five games, and advancing to the ACC championship Sunday afternoon. It also extends the SU winning streak to six, since last losing to Duke March 22. Quite an auspicious ACC tournament debut for Orange lax. Next, Syracuse faces the other lower seed, Notre Dame. The Irish shocked top seed Maryland 6-5 in Friday’s semi-final nightcap, ND (7-5) getting its only lead of the game with 6.5 seconds left in regulation.
STAR GAZING: Donahue, with the game winning goal off a nice fake and shot to beat Duke goalie Luke Aaron, while SU keeper Bobby Wardwell had a strong second half finishing with eight saves. Attackman Kevin Rice had three goals and five assists, while Billy Ward scored the game-tying goal with :15 to play off an incredible, blind, over-the-shoulder feed from Randy Staats.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will look to make it four straight wins against Notre Dame in the “non-traditional” ACC final Sunday consisting of teams far above the Mason-Dixon Line. SU beat the Irish 11-10 on a Rice goal with 2:05 to play in the regular season meeting March 29 in the Dome. Game time: 1:00 p.m. ET / TV: ESPNU