"This was a great win for our program, our administration and our alumni," Loyola second-year head coach Charley Toomey stated after the contest. "This should serve as a real confidence booster as we enter the next four weeks of ECAC play. We have to win in the ECAC and next week [at Rutgers] is the most important game on our schedule."
After the Orange scored the first goal of the second half to snap a 5-5 halftime tie, Loyola scored six of the next seven goals to build an 11-7 advantage with 1:13 remaining in the contest on a unassisted goal from junior Shane Koppens. Syracuse roared back with three goals in the final 73 seconds to pull within one and was up a man on the final possession before Peaty ended the threat with the ball in his stick as time expired.
"The first time we saw the ball after we scored that 11th goal was when it was in Peaty's stick. Alex just dug in there and made an incredible save," Toomey commented about the game's final minutes. "Our kids played extremely hard. When you play a team like Syracuse, you have to play all 60 minutes. Our kids are learning how to win and we are playing at an extremely high level."
"We go over that play in practice all the time," Peaty said of his game-deciding save. "I was prepared and when it came time to make the save, I was ready."
Protecting a one-goal lead entering the final quarter, Koppens scored sandwich goals around a pair from senior Dan Bauers during the key stretch when Loyola grabbed the lead. The goal completed a hat trick for Koppens and he added an assist for four points.
Bauers was the offensive leader with five points, finishing with four goals on the afternoon, each one better than the previous. The first gave Loyola a 2-1 lead with 7:40 left in the first quarter off a feed from Koppens and the second tied the game at 4-4 when Bauers dumped back an offensive rebound off a shot from sophomore Tyler Gale 19 seconds into the second period. The final two goals extended the Loyola lead with the first one coming unassisted with 7:21 remaining to make it 9-7 and the final one with 4:42 remaining from in front of the net off an assist from senior Greg Leonard to make the score 10-7.
For the Orange, Mike Leveille finished with four goals and an assist for five points. Dan Hardy added a pair of goals and Nims assisted on three goals and added one of his own for four points.
While none was more important than the last one, Peaty finished with 12 saves in collecting his fourth win of the season. Syracuse's Peter Coluccini equaled that with 12 saves of his own in falling to 3-4.
The win was just the fifth for the Greyhounds over Syracuse in the history of the series and the first since Loyola posted a 14-13 overtime home win on April 7, 2001. That 2001 season was also the last time the Greyhounds participated in the NCAA Tournament.
Loyola returns to ECAC action next Saturday with a 3:30 contest at Rutgers.