Photo courtesy of HopkinsSports.com
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Unseeded Johns Hopkins officially won its second NCAA Tournament game by topping second-seeded Syracuse, 16-15, in the quarterfinals at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Unofficially, make that seven straight wins in elimination games for the Blue Jays, who stunning have rallied from a 4-6 start to reel off the seven straight victories. Sunday’s victory, which improved Hopkins’ record to 11-6 on the year and advanced Hopkins to the Final Four for the first time since 2008, was different from each of the first six wins in that streak, but just as satisfying and certainly had the most at stake.
The Blue Jays had a 15-10 lead and seeming the game in hand with just under four minutes remaining when Shack Stanwick scored his fourth and final goal of the game off a feed from fellow freshman Joel Tinney with 3:50 on the clock.
But that was Syracuse wearing the white jerseys and the Orange don’t go quietly. The Orange got a pair back in the 64 seconds following Stanwick’s strike to make it 15-12, but an empty-net goal by junior Ryan Brown with 1:46 to play appeared to seal the win as Hopkins had a 16-12 lead.
Not so fast said the Orange, who led only once on the day (the 7-6 lead at the half), but wouldn’t go away either. A Kevin Rice goal with 56 seconds on the clock was followed 22 seconds later by a Henry Schoonmaker strike.
After a violation on the ensuing faceoff gave Syracuse an extra-man opportunity, the Orange needed just 11 seconds to get a Rice goal to make it 16-15 with 23 seconds remaining.
To that point, Syracuse had won 11 of the 12 fourth quarter faceoffs, but needing just one possession to seal the win, Hopkins got a clean faceoff win from freshman Hunter Moreland and although the Blue Jays put the ball on the ground, only a few seconds remained when Syracuse finally controlled it and Hopkins had sealed its trip to the national semifinals when an errant pass to midfield was picked off as time expired.
Down 7-6 to start the third quarter after squandering a pair of two-goal leads in the first half, it was Hopkins that got the first run of the second half as a four-goal spree, which included a pair from Shack Stanwick, an extra-man tally from Patrick Fraser and an alley dodge marker from Holden Cattoni, gave the Blue Jays a 10-7 lead midway through the period.
Dylan Donahue halted the run, but Wells Stanwick beat the third-quarter clock by dodging to the goal and beating Syracuse goalie Bobby Wardwell from in tight. In a game where the teams combined for 31 goals, it’s hard to say any one goal was the difference, but that one was crucial and fueled what would be a 9-3 run that gave JHU the 15-10 lead.
The 7-6 score at the half was the result of a first-half game of nip-and-tuck. Hopkins got three goals from Wells Stanwick before the game was 10 minutes old – a run that was answered only by a Schoonmaker goal – to grab a 3-1 lead, but the Orange had it tied by the end of the quarter on tallies by Nicky Galasso and Randy Staats.
Tinney and John Crawley scored back-to-back goals in a span of just 36 seconds early in the second quarter, but the Orange answered with a half-ending 4-1 spree to grab the one-goal lead at the half.
Donahue bookended the spree for the Orange, who also got a Ryan Simmons goal and Galasso’s second of the day over the final 10:22 of the half to account for their second-quarter scoring. A Ryan Brown unassisted goal was all Hopkins managed over the final 12 minutes of the second period.
The first goal of the second half would be crucial – either Syracuse would go up by two for the first time on the day or the Blue Jays would force a fourth tie. The crowd had barely quieted from Stanwick’s game-tying goal at the 12:03 mark when Fraser blew home his 10th extra-man goal of the season 53 seconds later.
The Blue Jays would never trail again in another classic Hopkins-Syracuse NCAA Tournament game, a game that may have been better suited for a stage on the final weekend, but a stage the Blue Jays were more than happy to walk off of victorious.
Wells and Shack Stanwick posted identical four-goal, two-assist efforts to lead a Johns Hopkins offense that reached the 13-goal mark for the sixth straight game. Brown added two goals and two assists for the Blue Jays, but it was the play of goalie Eric Schneider that proved to be the difference.
Schneider got involved early as he had five first-quarter saves en route to a 15-save performance. The 15 saves are a season-high and the third-highest single-game total of his career.
Syracuse had four players with hat tricks as Rice, Donahue, Staats and Galasso all found the back of the net thee times, while Wardwell posted 14 saves. With the 11-of-13 showing in the fourth quarter, Ben Williams finished a stunning 22-of-34 on faceoffs, but Moreland won the one that counted at the end to seal the win for the Blue Jays.