BALTIMORE, MD — That the Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse team would score five second-half goals in a 17-minute span to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 7-6 lead against sixth-ranked Syracuse seemed improbable.
That the Orange (5-1) would answer with a goal in the final 35 seconds of regulation and then win the game 62 seconds into extra time after scoring just once in a span of nearly 24 minutes prior to that outburst seemed equally unlikely.
What probably seemed certain even before the game began with both teams playing a man-down was that a one-goal game was possible; after all, 13 of the last 28 meetings in the series, including the last two, had been one-goal affairs.
This time, it was the Orange who walked away the victor as Brendan Bomberry scored from in tight off a nifty feed from Sergio Salcido, who rolled back to his right hand after dodging down the ally and found Bomberry cutting to the goal. Bomberry stuck it top shelf to end the 56th all-time meeting between the two winningest programs in the sport’s history and close a defensive battle that saw the Orange lead by three, fall behind late and steal it when given the chance.
Syracuse seemed to have control after Nick Mariano and Nate Solomon scored back-to-back goals in a span of just over three minutes early in the third quarter to extend a 3-2 halftime lead to 5-2. The goals capped a 4-0 SU run that turned a 2-1 first-quarter deficit into the three-goal lead.
While Bomberry played the part of late-game hero, it was Hopkins’ Hunter Moreland who nearly stole the role before Bomberry ever had a chance. Having not played all season after suffering a preseason injury, the junior faceoff specialist took over at the X at the start of the second half and a decided Orange advantage there — SU won 5-of-6 in the first half — slowly began to fade.
With Moreland winning 8-of-11 second-half faceoffs, the Blue Jays (4-3) slowly began to peck away. An extra-man goal by senior Wilkins Dismuke and a Robert Kuhn goal in an unsettled situation two minutes later had the three-goal deficit down to one with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Syracuse got a transition goal of its own early in the fourth quarter when goalie Evan Molloy jump-started a break with a save and hit Paolo Ciferi in stride at midfield; Ciferi raced into the offensive zone and bounced one past Blue Jay goalie Gerald Logan.
The 6-4 Syracuse lead held for just over two minutes before sophomore Kyle Marr cut to the goal and one-timed a shot home off a quick feed from junior Shack Stanwick.
As the clock ticked down on the six-minute mark, the Blue Jays went from one down to one up quickly — as in they scored twice in an eight-second span to turn the 6-5 deficit into a 7-6 lead.
Sophomore Alex Concannon rifled home his second goal of the season after Joel Tinney swept across the top of the box and flipped a pass back to Patrick Fraser, who quickly found Concannon alone on the back-side wing and he fired one home.
Moreland, who by now had found a grove, won the ensuing faceoff back to himself and, under the pressure of a double-team, flipped the ball over his head to Kuhn, who raced into the offensive zone and bounced home his second of the game to give the Blue Jays the 7-6 lead.
The one-goal lead was nearly two late in the game as Tinney, working from the top of the box, got inside defender Andrew Helmer. Helmer managed to check the ball away and, as the ball rolled towards the goal and with Molloy coming out to try and grab it, Tinney poked it towards the open net. As the ball rolled into the goal, Tinney slid towards the crease and was ruled to have touched the crease before the ball crossed the line to wipe out the goal.
That opened the door for the Orange, who successfully cleared, called timeout and got the equalizer with 33.4 seconds left on the clock as Jamie Trimboli found Marino in the slot and Mariano flipped one behind his back and past Logan from five yards out.
After a Kieran Eissler shot sailed high for Johns Hopkins just before the end of regulation, Syracuse faceoff specialist Ben Williams won the opening faceoff of overtime to set up Bomberry’s game-winner, which settled the fifth overtime game the teams have played since 2005 and the sixth in series history.
Mariano and Solomon led Syracuse with two goals apiece and Salcido added one goal and two assists. Williams was 9-of-18 on faceoffs and Molloy had seven saves and the one assist to his credit.
Dismuke and Kuhn both had two goals for Johns Hopkins, which also got one goal and two assists from Marr. Moreland finished 8-of-12 on faceoffs with the one assist and Logan posted 10 saves for the Blue Jays.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Saturday, March 25 when the Blue Jays welcome Virginia to Homewood Field (1 pm).