CHESTER, Pa. – Syracuse attackman Dylan Donahue scored the game-winning goal with one second remaining, lifting third-seeded Syracuse to a 16-15 win over second-seeded Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Friday night at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Duke falls to 12-3 on the season while the Orange improve to 10-3 and advance to Sunday’s championship game.
“First off I want to congratulate Syracuse and its staff and players,” said head coach John Danowski. “They were terrific, they played for 60 minutes and never gave up and I certainly thought they played with a lot of skill. They played with a lot of poise in crunch time so we applaud how well they played.”
Syracuse closed the game on a 6-1 run to earn the win. After the Orange scored four straight goals to tie the game at 14-14, Jordan Wolf put the Blue Devils back on top with a tally with 3:15 left in the final period. Billy Ward then knotted the game with a goal with 15 seconds on the clock before Donohue’s heroics completed the comeback.
Deemer Class, Josh Dionne and Case Matheis scored three goals each to lead Duke while Wolf finished with one goal and four assists. Myles Jones chipped in three assists. Donohue paced the Orange with four goals and two assists while Kevin Rice logged three goals and five assists.
The first half featured back-and-forth action as Duke and Syracuse traded scoring runs. After seeing Syracuse score twice in 25 seconds to make it 2-2, Duke used a 3-0 run to end the first quarter for the 5-2 advantage. Four different Blue Devils had goals in the opening stanza, including two from Class.
Trailing by three, the Orange responded with five straight and a 6-1 run in the second stanza for an 8-6 lead with 5:25 to play.
Facing its largest deficit of the game, Duke cut the lead to one with a strike from Chad Cohan. Strong play by Brendan Fowler at the faceoff X, the Blue Devils added three more goals in the final 1:48 for the 10-8 lead at the break. Matheis had two in that stretch, including one with just five seconds on the clock.
Duke ‘s offense rode the hot hand in the third quarter adding two more from Dionne and Jack Bruckner for the 12-8 advantage before a pair of Syracuse markers concluded the quarter. Duke then opened the final period with two goals by Kyle Keenan and Dionne for a 14-10 advantage before the Orange made its memorable comeback.
“I think the biggest thing that slowed us down [in the second half] was ourselves,” said Dionne. “I know I didn’t run through a ground ball in the fourth quarter and that’s a possession that we lost. Little things. We weren’t putting it on people’s sticks as well as we could have. Just the little things, but Syracuse played great.”
In the Duke net, Luke Aaron was credited with 12 saves. For Syracuse, Dominic Lamolinara (5 saves; 10 goals allowed) and Bobby Wardwell (8 saves; 5 goals allowed) split halves in goal. At the faceoff X, Fowler won 20-of-30 draws while Syracuse’s Chris Daddio won 11-of-32.
Wolf’s five-point performance increased his career total to 273 as the Wynnewood, Pa., native moved past former Virginia standout Steele Stanwick (269) into fourth place on the ACC’s all-time scoring list. Wolf now sits seven points shy of third place, held by former N.C. State standout Stan Cockerton (280). In six career games against Syracuse, Wolf now has 31 points on 15 goals and 16 assists.
With his three goals on the day, Dionne pushed his career total to 129 to move into a tie for ninth place on the school’s all-time list, matching the total of Josh Dennis (1987-90). Dionne now has 24 hat tricks in his career.
The loss marked Duke’s eighth in 117 games since 2007 when the Blue Devils score 10 or more goals.
Duke closes the regular season next Sunday at Boston University. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m.