A quick take on Syracuse’s 10-9 loss to Bryant in the NCAA Tournament:
WHAT HAPPENED: With the Orange down one and seven seconds left on the clock, Chris Daddio won a rare faceoff and flipped it ahead to a streaking Dylan Donahue. But Donahue was stonewalled at the doorstep by Bryant goalie Gunnar Waldt, and the Bulldogs pulled off an improbable upset of the second-seeded Orange. The game had a familiar feel to last year’s opening round matchup between the two teams. But unlike the 2013 edition when the Bulldogs faded in the second half, Bryant strung together two halves of quality defense and patient offense to move on in the NCAA Tournament. Bryant took a two goal lead into the fourth quarter before Syracuse’s awoke from the doldrums and scored twice within a minute to tie the game at 7. But Tucker James scored two straight goals, and the Bulldogs would never relinquish the lead.
WHAT IT MEANS: Bryant switched to a zone defense midway through the second quarter, and Syracuse’s potent offense struggled to find the back of the net. The Orange was held to just five goals through the third quarter, with the Orange often firing wildly at the goal. The Orange converted just nine of 38 shots, and was also uncharacteristically sloppy, turning the ball over 13 times.
STAR GAZING: Faceoff specialist Kevin Massa dominated Syracuse at the X last year, winning 22 of 23 faceoffs. It wasn’t exactly a repeat performance on Sunday, but Massa still played well, winning 14 of 23 faceoffs against Daddio, who came in winning 57 percent of his faceoffs over the last eight games. James, who scored the decisive go-ahead goals, finished with four goals and two assists. Waldt finished with 13 saves, none bigger than the one as time expired. A hat tip needs to go to a raucous Bulldog crowd, who traveled in droves from Rhode Island and let their presence be known.
WHAT’S NEXT: A long offseason. This loss has to go up there with the Army upset in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Bryant moves on to face Maryland in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday at Hofstra.