For the first four minutes, Marist seemed capable of doing what Bryant had done to Syracuse last year.
The Orange was ousted in the first round by underdog Bryant in the 2014 NCAA Tournament in one of the biggest upsets in tourney history. And for a fleeting moment, the Red Foxes led 1-0, a lead that lasted until 11:02 in the first quarter when Hakeem Lecky’s unassisted goal tied the game.
From there? Total and complete domination from the Orange in a 20-8 opening round win.
Lecky’s goal was the first of 10 unanswered goals that gave SU a 10-1 lead with 8:32 left in the first half. When Marist scored its next goal, more than 22 minutes had gone by.
By then, Kevin Rice had scored two goals and added two assists en route to a career-best nine points. By then, Jordan Evans scored three of his career-high five goals (he had only had four goals all season). And, by then, the small but once raucous Marist contingent had gone completely quiet.
There were plenty of other heroes for the Orange, as well. Ben Williams won all eight of his faceoffs in the first quarter and finished 15-22 for the day. He flustered Dominic Montemurro, no small feat considering Montemurro was the MAAC’s Faceoff Specialist of the Year. Dylan Donahue chipped in three goals and two assists.
Joseph Radin led Marist with four goals and a helper.
Marist had a brief glimmer of hope in the second half, after it scored four straight goals to pull to within 10-5 with 11:52 left in the third quarter. But Syracuse, a veteran team, and one that didn’t want to relive last year’s upset, reeled of a 10-1 run to put the game completely out of reach.
The Orange will next face Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in Annapolis, Maryland.