Kelleher’s OT Game-Winner Sends Cornell Past Syracuse in Comeback Victory

(Photo Courtesy of Cornell Athletics)

With 24 seconds remaining in regulation, John Piatelli dodger towards the cage from just above GLE and a hedge from the Syracuse defense left Michael Long completely uncovered on the backside for the score to force overtime.

Angelo Petrakis won the opening faceoff of the overtime period and following a timeout, CJ Kirst got the ball at X and began to drive. Drawing a slide, Billy Coyle was left open on the right side. As the slide approached, Coyle flipped it over to an open Hugh Kelleher on the on the other hash who put in the game-winer from 13 yards out to send the Big Red past rival Syracuse, 16-15, in a Monday night thriller.

It marked the Big Red’s second win in three days as they defeated Harvard on Saturday afternoon.

Piatelli’s assist on the overtime-forcing goal gave him his third assist and ninth point of the day as he also scored six goals in the win. Billy Coyle (3G/2A) and CJ Kirst (2G/3A) each had five points in the win.

Despite scoring five of the final eight goals of the contest and coming out with the win, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Cornell from the start.

Syracuse, who came into Monday after a loss at UAlbany last Thursday, started the game as hot as they have any all season. The Orange sprinted out to a 4-0 lead in the first six minutes of play, which included a pole feeding another pole as Brett Kennedy found Saam Olexo for the transition score.

Piatelli broke the ice for the Big Red with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter and Coyle got one late in the frame. Jackson Birtwhsitle, Brandon Aviles, and Jacob Buttermore got goals for the Orange late in the first to keep them ahead 7-2.

On top of their early offensive success, Syracuse was also able to put together some of their best defensive possessions in quite a while during that first quarter. The Orange caused three of the Big Red’s four turnovers during that opening frame.

The Big Red started the second quarter with a two-goal stint from Long and Piatelli, and put together another later in the frame with Piatelli and Kirst finding the back of the net. However, despite Cornell starting to get their groove together, it was still Syracuse’s game to lose.

Three consecutive goals from Brendan Curry, Matteo Corsi, and Tucker Dordevic, as well as a Dordevic score with 14 seconds left in the half put a wrench in the Big Red’s effort and helped keep Syracuse ahead 11-6 at the half.

Starting early on in the third quarter, Cornell really started to settle in and showcase the best of their offense. The Big Red exploded for five goals off 11 shots in the third period alone, four of which came from Piatelli and Coyle, to pull within one, 12-11, heading into the final period. And it would not be long before Cornell had things tied and ultimately took the lead.

A pair from Kelleher and Piatelli to start the fourth quarter extended the Big Red’s run to 7-1 and put them ahead for the first time in the contest, 13-12. However, Syracuse wouldn’t give up that easy. A pair from Brendan Curry within a minute of each other took back the one-goal lead for Syracuse.

That sequence of Cornell tying it and Syracuse answering would bee seen once more before those final two sequences to end the game and secure the win for the Big Red.

Cornell pulled Chayse Ierlan for freshman Wyatt Knust to start the second quarter and he made eight saves. Angelo Petrakis went 17-for-33 at the faceoff dot.

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