first_img Published on February 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm Contact Jon: [email protected] | @jmettus With 33 seconds left in a one-goal game, Syracuse head coach John Desko wanted the ball in Tim Barber’s stick.Coming out of a timeout with possession and the lead, all Barber had to do was outrun the Army defense and dish the ball to an open teammate to stall — simple, but not easy.Army doubled Barber and drove him to the turf as he raced toward the far sideline. The Black Knights picked up the ball and carried it the other way. Army’s Cole Johnson cocked back and fired a shot with seven seconds left that hit SU goalie Warren Hill’s stick then ricocheted off the post and bounced back into play.“As soon as I heard it hit off the pipe I got scared for a second there,” Hill said. “But it popped out and luckily it didn’t go in.”No. 3 Syracuse (3-0) just barely avoided an upset in a 9-8 win over Army (2-2) in the Carrier Dome on Sunday. The Orange gave up 12 turnovers, committed four penalties that led to three goals, and its overall sloppy play contributed to an Army comeback in the second half. Thanks to a goal by Barber with just three and a half minutes left in the game, Syracuse still came away with the victory.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We knew that Army was going to come in and play for 60 minutes,” Desko said. “… We got maybe a little comfortable when we got up by four goals in the third period and, as expected, Army crawled back into the game.“It could have gone the other way. To get out of here and be 3-0 is a good thing for us right now.”A week removed from putting up 59 shots against then-No. 12 Albany, Army held SU to 30 compared to the the Black Knights’ 34.SU’s Ben Williams was dominant on the faceoff again, winning 13-of-19 at the X. But twice, Syracuse was called for an offside violation heading into the offensive zone and Black Knights players were able to pick up a handful of errant passes by the Orange, preventing the face-off wins from turning into shots.One minute into the second half, Syracuse held a 7-3 lead. SU had scored twice since the break and appeared as if it could cruise to a win until midfielder Nick Mariano was called for interference.Mariano had shoved Army’s Luke Poulos, who was trying to set a pick, once, getting the attention of the referee, then twice, drawing the foul. Desko yelled at Mariano as Mariano crouched on the sideline and 27 seconds later the Black Knights scored in a man-up situation.“We tried to tell him from the sideline not to do that,” Desko said. “In a close game like this, we don’t need to create extra-man opportunities. … We weren’t happy with the play as coaches.”On SU’s next offensive possession, Paolo Ciferri skipped a pass to Dylan Donahue off the turf and out of bounds, despite Donahue only standing about 10 yards away. Army took advantage again.The Black Knights defense wasn’t sliding much, which could leave a man open for a pass, and forced Syracuse’s players to dodge to score. Sometimes SU lost the ball on a dodge. Other times, the Orange forced passes into traffic that never met their intended targets.“Our D did a great job,” Army head coach Joe Alberici said. “Those guys executed the game plan in the half field very very well. … I think the stats kind of say what these guys did.”After falling behind by four goals, the Black Knights scored five of the next six to tie the game at eight goals apiece with just four and a half minutes left in the contest.Barber made himself the hero by putting Syracuse ahead with 3:27 left, scoring on a top-corner shot on Army goalie AJ Barretto after curling from behind the cage. But he also coughed the ball up in the final minute, giving the Black Knights another chance to tie the game.If not for a matter of a few inches, they could have.“We’re going to learn from that,” Desko said. “We’re going to show the film about these guys. … We’ve got to get back out there tomorrow, show the guys the mistakes that we made and then turn around and refocus.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img