Syracuse, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton (3-6, 1-0 AE) gave #8 Syracuse all they could handle on Wednesday night, losing a tight 10-8 non-conference contest in front of 1,847 fans at the Carrier Dome. The Bearcats trailed SU 9-8 in the final minutes of play but weren’t able to capitalize on their last possession as the Orange added a late goal and ran out the clock.
Junior Tucker Nelson led the way for Binghamton with a four-point effort against the Orange with a one-goal, three-assist night. Senior Michael Antinozzi scored a goal and dished out two assists for the Bearcats who had eight different scorers on Wednesday.
Binghamton opened up the scoring on Wednesday from the Carrier Dome as senior Matt Springer scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season. Springer’s goal came just 50 seconds into the game off the feed from Antinozzi. Syracuse answered just a few short minutes later with Dylan Donahue’s unassisted tally and later took the lead at the 7:33 mark with a goal from Hakeem Lecky.
Down 2-1, junior Tucker Nelson dodged from behind the cage and curled around in front of the crease and swung a shot past Lamolinara to even things up at two goals apiece with under two minutes left in the first. Nelson helped the BU cause once again with a great skip pass to freshman Jay Vakiener who unloaded a shot from over 15 yards out into the back of the net, giving BU a 3-2 lead after 15 minutes of play. Vakiener’s goal was the first of his collegiate career.
With the score at 3-3, sophomore JT Hauck made a cut in front of cage completely unmarked. Nelson dished off to Hauck who buried his seventh goal of the year from less than five yards out. Following a SU save, the Orange scored on a fast break opportunity as leading scorer Kevin Rice scored from close range to knot things up at four.
With 1:25 left in the half, the Orange struck on Billy Ward’s goal and held on to take a 5-4 lead into intermission. The Bearcats won the opening six faceoffs in the first half and went 8-of-9 on clears.
Binghamton started the second half off in good form, netting a goal in the opening two minutes of play. Antinozzi spun and then sent a pass over to sophomore Johnny Maher who connected from long range for his first goal of the season. The Bearcats then went ahead 6-5 nearly two minutes later on Kelly Donigan’s long range strike that squeaked past newly entered SU goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell.
The eighth-ranked Orange had a strong answer for the Bearcats early rally, scoring four unanswered to secure a 9-6 advantage. Four different players scored during that stretch as play moved along to the fourth quarter.
Senior Brandon Planck put a stop to Syracuse’s run with his goal at the 10:10 mark in the fourth. Planck was the recipient of yet another Tucker Nelson assist as he fired a shot home from eight yards out. Antinozzi cut the deficit to one, 9-8, with seven minutes left in the game. The Fallston, Md. native dodged to his left and extended his stick to fire a bouncing shot past Wardwell.
Both teams traded possessions down the stretch, but Binghamton was able to hold the ball for a lengthy period of time to set up their offense. With less than two minutes remaining, the Syracuse defense buckled down and caused a turnover that ended the Bearcats upset bid as the Orange prevailed with the two-goal victory.
Binghamton won 12-of-22 faceoffs on Wednesday, including eight faceoff wins from freshman Dan Mazurek. The Orange held a slight advantage in both shots (31-25) and ground balls (28-24) as BU surrendered its first road loss of the 2014 season.
Up next for Binghamton is an America East matchup with UMBC on Sunday. The Retrievers, like Binghamton, are 1-0 in conference play after a 12-11 win over Stony Brook this past Saturday. First faceoff is set for 2 p.m. from Vestal at the Bearcats Sports Complex.