SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Billy Ward scored at the 2:57 mark of the second overtime period to lift seventh-ranked Syracuse (8-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to an 11-10 victory over fourth-ranked North Carolina (9-3, 2-3) on Saturday evening in the Carrier Dome.
The loss damages the Tar Heels' chances at earning one of the spots in the ACC Tournament due to the tiebreaker implications of losses to Notre Dame and Syracuse head-to-head. Four of the conference's six teams will advance to the ACC Tournament in Chester, Pa., on April 25-27. Carolina is likely headed for the ACC Showcase game against Virginia instead.
Kevin Rice led the Orange with three goals and three assists. Ward scored three times and added an assist, while Dylan Donahue and Nick Galasso each scored twice. Randy Staats had an assist for SU.
The Tar Heels dominated during much of the first half, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 5:19 of the first quarter and eventually leading 4-1 after a goal by Bitter with 5:52 left in the period. Ward scored back-to-back goals for the Orange to close the quarter with UNC leading 4-3.
Tutton and Bitter each scored for Carolina in the second quarter. The Tar Heel defense held Syracuse scoreless in the second period to take a 6-3 lead into the lockerroom.
Syracuse scored quickly coming out of halftime on a score by Donahue just 45 seconds into the quarter. The Orange outscored Carolina 4-1 in the third period to tie it at 7-all entering the fourth. The teams traded goals with time winding down, with Syracuse taking its first lead at 9-8 with 7:47 left in regulation.
Tutton scored off a pass from Simpson for the Tar Heels, followed by an unassisted goal from Bitter, to put the Tar Heels back in the lead by a score of 10-9 with 3:10 to go. After UNC was able to run much of the remaining time off the clock by maintaining possession of the ball, Syracuse was able to get it back and Rice scored with 0:08 left to knot it at 10-all and force overtime.
Neither team scored in the first extra period before Ward ended things off an assist from Staats at the 2:57 mark of the second OT stanza.
Kieran Burke went the distance in goal for Carolina, making 14 saves, including three key stops in overtime.
The Orange outshot Carolina by a 38-31 margin, including 6-1 combined in the two overtime periods. Syracuse won 18 of 26 face-offs in the game.
Syracuse won its fourth game in a row and Carolina's four-game winning streak came to a halt on Saturday.
Saturday's game was Carolina's first against Syracuse since 1996 and its first visit to the Carrier Dome since 1994. It also was the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season finale for both teams. The Orange now leads the series 12-6 and has won seven of the eight meetings played in Syracuse.
Carolina will conclude its 2014 regular season at High Point next Friday night (April 18).