Jays stymie No. 1 Orange

Career-high 5 goals by senior Wedin stun host Syracuse, 11-10

March 18, 2001|By Lary Bump | By Lary Bump,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Those who know Johns Hopkins' Eric Wedin call him "a warrior" and "a great athlete." But a scorer?

No way - at least not until yesterday, when the senior sparked the No. 9 Blue Jays to an 11-10 upset of top-ranked Syracuse by scoring five goals and assisting on another.

Hopkins (2-1) also gave new coach Dave Pietramala a 2-1 record in head-to-head meetings against Syracuse coach John Desko. The defending national champion Orangemen (3-1) had won 18 of 19 games; the only loss in that stretch had been last year at Cornell, then coached by Pietramala.

"That has less to do with Dave Pietramala than with the young men I've been fortunate enough to coach," he said. "They are not allowed to quit."

And the last person to quit would be Wedin.

"He's a real warrior," Desko said. "He takes about every faceoff, and runs with an offensive midfield. We kept waiting for him to run out of gas in the fourth quarter, but he's in excellent physical condition."

Pietramala said of Wedin: "He's a flat-out warrior. Eric is a young man everyone told couldn't play midfield at Hopkins. They told him he couldn't run on a regular midfield and take faceoffs. But he does, and he also played man down."

This was the same Eric Wedin, who, in his first 41 games, at Hopkins had scored just six goals. The one who surprised even himself.

"I haven't played offense in three years," he said. "Who would have expected it? I was surprised."

The Blue Jays trailed throughout the first three quarters and were down 8-6 early in the fourth period. That was despite two goals and an assist by Wedin, which already qualified as a career best. But the best was yet to come.

With 13:10 to play, Wedin fired a shot past Syracuse goalie Rob Mulligan. And three minutes after that, Wedin pulled the Blue Jays even at 8-8. Mulligan chased a loose ball out of the crease, and who was there to snare the bouncing ball? Wedin, of course.

Hopkins went ahead for the first time - and to stay, when Bobby Benson scored off a feed from Joe McDermott with 8:49 to play. Adam Doneger and Wedin again closed a run of five consecutive Blue Jays goals to give them an 11-8 lead with 2:13 to play. But then Orangemen faceoff ace Chris Cercy won two draws to set up two goals within 21 seconds.

Another faceoff win, and all of Hopkins' hard work could have evaporated. But Wedin won the faceoff, putting the Blue Jays in control of the ball with 1:52 to play.

Cercy wasn't surprised.

"I've been going against Eric since junior high," said his fellow Long Islander. "And you know every time you go against him it's going to be a great battle. I won almost all of the first seven faceoffs, but I knew it was just a matter of time before he adjusted. He's a great athlete."

Following a turnover, Syracuse did have another chance to tie or win the game, but Hopkins successfully kept the Orangemen away from sophomore goalie Rob Scherr, who came up with a career-high 15 saves in his third start.

This time it wasn't Wedin receiving the credit, but Hopkins' strong back line of close defensemen Brendan Shook, Shawn Nadelen and Brandon Testa.

But with his taste of glory, does Wedin expect to become more of an offensive force? "I'm ready to do whatever the coaches want me to do," he said. "If they want me to play defense, I'll play defense."

Pietramala interjected, "I'm not sure I can ask him to do much more, unless he's going to carry water out to the field."

In other words, don't expect any of the Blue Jays to be thirsty this season.

NOTES: Hopkins received a boost from the return of sophomore midfielder Tim Muir, who had missed the season's first two games with a broken hand. Muir had two goals and an assist. ... Syracuse took its 8-6 lead on a goal by freshman attackman Brian Nee, from Cockeysville and Boys' Latin.

Johns Hopkins 1 2 3 5 - 11

Syracuse 2 2 3 3 - 10

Goals: JH-Wedin 5, Doneger 2, Muir 2, Denihan, Benson. S-Springer 2, Banks 2, Powell 2, Solliday, Pat Hogan, Tom Hardy, Brian Nee. Assists: JH-Boland, Muir, Denihan, Benson. S-Springer 3, Coffman 2, Powell 2. Saves: JH-Scherr 15. S-Mulligan 12. A-7,422.

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