It seemed like the game would come down to the last second… and then it did.
Down by as many as five goals, Syracuse rallied past Albany for a 10-9 victory in a drama filled afternoon that did not let up until the final seconds of the game.
Albany struck first, scoring two unanswered goals. Despite an Orange score by Tyson Bomberry, Albany maintained its momentum for the remainder of the first quarter. Soon, Syracuse found itself in a 3-1 hole.
“Offensively, I thought we were very impatient,” John Desko said. “We’d come up with a possession, and it might have been one or two passes, and then we were going right to the goal and taking a shot on their goaltender.”
As the second quarter opened, the Great Danes kept pounding. Albany’s Troy Reh struck fast and drilled a shot into the back of Syracuse’s net, the first of three more unanswered goals.
Trailing by five, Syracuse patiently began to cut into the deficit as Brad Voigt ripped a low shot past the Albany goalie. Pat Carlin followed with a goal of his own, bringing the score to 6-3 at the half.
Entering the second half, the Orange settled in and picked up where it left off. Chipping away at the Albany lead, Matt Lane, Jamie Trimboli, and Brendan Bomberry each recorded a goal. At the same time, Syracuse’s defense completely shut down the Great Danes through the third quarter.
“We had to play a lot of defense. I thought our defense played well,” Desko said. “As we settled down, we got pretty stingy, and they didn’t put up many goals in the second half. I think our defense was a key part of the win, today.”
Syracuse got its first lead of the day with 2:01 left in the third quarter as Austin Fusco bounced a shot into the Great Dane’s goal. After scoring six unanswered goals and up 7-6, it looked as though Orange fans could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The back and forth saga was not over yet. Albany came firing back in the fourth quarter. Scoring for the first time since the 10:40 mark of the second, Albany tied and then quickly retook the lead.
Down again and with time running out, the Orange’s patience paid off. Brendan Bomberry served up Sergio Salcido for back-to-back goals that tied and then regained a 9-8 Syracuse lead.
“I credit my teammates for [the goals],” Salcido said. “Those shots were all assisted, so you’ve got to credit the guys who drew the slide, moved the ball, and found me on the backside.”
As time ran down in the final minutes of play, it looked like the matchup was destined for overtime. With 3:43 left, Albany tied things up again with another goal.
Following a steal, Syracuse called timeout with less than 7 seconds in regulation. On the return to action, Nate Solomon flipped the ball around to Nick Mariano. With just 1.6 seconds on the clock, Mariano ripped a shot into the back of the Albany net.
“I just caught the ball, and it just went in. I don’t even know how it went in,” Mariano said. “I just saw everyone erupt and I jumped up in the air.”
The game clincher, Mariano’s shot closed the door on a matchup against a tough opponent.
“It was a very good win for us,” Desko said. “It was a good learning experience for our group. Being down by a few goals at halftime they had to fight and come back against a hot goaltender. It was a good exercise for us, and the experience is only going to help us going forward.”