North Carolina scored four unanswered goals in the final four minutes of the game to defeat Syracuse 11-10 in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night.
No. 7 Syracuse (9-4) appeared to be in control until late in the fourth quarter, with Brendan Curry’s man-up goal with 6:12 left putting the Orange up 10-7.
That lead quickly evaporated in the span of 45 seconds. North Carolina’s (8-6) Matt Gavin got things started with 3:46 to go on an unassisted goal. Brian Cameron followed 40 seconds later with a goal and then six seconds after that, Zachary Tucci tied the game at 10 with 3:01 to go.
With 1:07 left, Gavin beat Syracuse goalie Drake Porter on a wrap-around goal, giving the Tar Heels their first lead since the second quarter.
Syracuse had a chance to send it to overtime with seven seconds left, but Jamie Trimboli’s shot sailed wide and North Carolina ran out the clock to eliminate Syracuse in its first game of the ACC Tournament for the third straight year.
It was a tight contest throughout, with neither team leading by more than 2 goals until the fourth quarter. The largest lead of the game was three, which SU held and ultimately lost in the fourth quarter.
Syracuse was led by Bradley Voigt’s five points (4g, 1a), while Jacob Buttermore scored a hat trick and added an assist. Gavin, Cameron and William Perry each had two goals for the Tar Heels.
The Tar Heels outshot Syracuse 38-32 and enjoyed a 14-10 advantage at the X.
It was a reversal of fortune for the Orange, who had used stellar second halves in its most recent four-game win streak. In a win over the same North Carolina team on April 13, Syracuse blanked the Tar Heels 4-0 in the third quarter. Syracuse shut out Hobart 10-0 in the second half on April 2.
Syracuse now faces a long layoff as a result of the loss, with its next game coming in the NCAA Tournament. With the new format of the ACC Tournament, the winner won’t be crowned until May 4.
North Carolina goes on to face top-seeded Virginia on Saturday at 2 p.m. Duke and Notre Dame will play the 2/3 matchup the same day at 4:30. Both games will be televised by ESPNU.