Syracuse will begin the 2014 NCAA Tournament by hosting Bryant on Sunday at the Carrier Dome. Here is a quick look at the game:
IN SYRACUSE’S LAST GAME: Syracuse had no trouble in its final tune up of the regular season, exploding for 19 goals in a 13 point win over Colgate on Saturday. Syracuse lead from start to finish, and jumped on the Red Raiders early, scoring the game’s first six goals. The Orange would close the first half on a 3-0 run for a 10-3 at half, which would allow Syracuse coach John Desko to empty his bench in the second half. Eleven different players scored for SU, including Kevin Rice, who led the Orange with seven points on three goals and four assists.
IN BRYANT’S LAST GAME: The Bulldogs won their first NCAA Tournament game in school history, topping Siena, 9-8, at home on Wednesday. Bryant trailed for all of the first half, but Dan Sipperly’s goal capped a 3-0 run midway through the third quarter that gave the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead. Bryant took the lead for good with 5:30 left on Colin Dunster’s goal. Sophomore goalie Gunnar Waldt collected 14 saves to lead the Bulldogs.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Chris Daddio’s improvement will be put to the test against NEC Player of the Year Kevin Massa, who is one of the elite faceoff specialists in the country. Massa has won 72.5 percent at the X this season, and also collected 209 ground balls. Still, Massa struggled against Siena faceoff specialist Casey Dowd, losing 9 of 13 faceoffs, before winning 6 of 7 in the decisive fourth quarter. Sophomore attackman Shane Morrell was named to the All-NEC First Team after scoring 58 points this season on 41 goals and 17 assists.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse played Bryant for the first time in school history last year in the NCAA Tournament, with the Orange winning 12-7. The Bulldogs kept pace with SU, taking a tie into half before the Orange ultimately pulled away. Massa was a huge reason for Bryant’s early success in that game, winning 22 of 23 faceoffs. Things got so bad for SU at the X that they stopped contesting in the second half. But Dylan Donahue scored a hat trick to lead the Orange and SU’s offense eventually wore down the Bulldogs.
GAME INFORMATION: Sunday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Carrier Dome. TV: ESPNU.