Pat Kavanagh has put up career highs in his 4 games against SU

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In his three seasons at Notre Dame, Pat Kavanagh has faced Syracuse four times, twice in 2021 and twice this season — all of which ND won. And in every game he’s faced the Orange, Pat has not held back, scoring either nine or 10 points, a team high in each.

On Sunday, Pat returned to the Dome and scored 10 of Notre Dame’s 29 points in its 18-11 win over Syracuse. The junior attack tied a career high set exactly a year beforehand when the Fighting Irish defeated SU in South Bend.

Here’s a look at how Pat has dominated against Syracuse over the last two seasons:

Prime time Pat

Before April 3, 2021, Syracuse had gone five years without facing a member of the Kavanagh family. Pat’s older brother, Matt Kavanagh, who finished as Notre Dame’s second all-time point scorer, averaged 4.6 points in five games against the Orange from 2013-16.

On this play, with the game tied at 8-8, Pat receives the ball behind the net from Eric Dobson, who beat Syracuse defenseman Grant Murphy to a ground ball. Pat is matched up with Mitch Wykoff, who forces Pat to his right.

As he passes the top of the crease with Wykoff on his back, Pat jumps and simultaneously launches the ball over his right shoulder. The ball initially bounces and Syracuse goalie Drake Porter thinks he’s scooped it. Instead, the ball rolled over the line and Pat secured a first-half hat trick and his fifth point of the game.

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Getting out of hand

On this play, Notre Dame looked to build off a 9-1 run established through the second quarter and into the early stages of the third. Once again, Pat receives the ball at the X and is matched up with Wykoff. But instead of waiting for Wykoff to pinch, Kavanagh takes off.

He initially sprints toward the left side of the goal, but he quickly spins, pivoting toward the right to survey his options. Once he sees that there are no cutters, Pat cuts back to the left to shake off Wykoff. He finds a cutting Morrison Mirer, who looks to fire a shot on net, but a double team by Wykoff and Brett Kennedy pop the ball loose.

Still, the ball falls right into Pat’s stick next to the crease. Instead of taking an immediate shot, he runs into open space at the top of the crease, firing a low between-the-legs shot as he takes a late hit from Murphy. The goal was Pat’s fifth and gave Notre Dame an 11-goal lead.

Pat’s natural hat trick

Notre Dame went on a 12-0 run in the teams’ first meeting of 2022, holding Syracuse to just three first-half goals, including a Jacob Buttermore score in the final minute before halftime.

The Fighting Irish eagerly looked to grab the final dagger of the first half. In the final 12 seconds, Buttermore takes a shot which is bobbled by Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann. Entenmann picks up the ball, spins to the left of his cage and signals the UND attack to rush forward for a long pass.

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With five seconds left, Entenmann launches a high pass to the opposite crease. Pat secures the pass among six different players and quickly fires a spinning shot past Harrison Thompson with just a second left.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Pat burst to his right as he was pressured by Kennedy at the top of the zone. Quinn McCahon sets a pick on Kennedy and gives Pat plenty of time to cut toward the net. Matteo Corsi is late on the slide and Carter Rice is also screened, allowing Pat time to shuffle his feet and rifle a shot past Thompson’s stick.

Ten seconds later, Pat is again in the right place at the right time. Although Jakob Phaup wins the faceoff, he turns back into SU’s zone and is immediately pressured by Notre Dame’s Will Lynch. Lynch forces Phaup to the ground, sending a loose ball towards Chris Kavanagh. Chris takes a few steps forward, sees an onrushing defender before dishing the ball to his brother, Pat, for the easy score at the top of the crease.

Kavanagh x2

In April, Pat and Chris contributed to half of Notre Dame’s 22 goals. On Sunday, they contributed to 13 goals and combined for 14 points.

As the Fighting Irish put the final dagger into Syracuse’s sixth consecutive loss of the season, the Kavanagh brothers combined on one play to give Notre Dame an early six-goal lead in the second quarter.

Pat routinely takes the ball behind the net and runs into space toward the left pipe. He’s able to do so because Jake Taylor sets a timely pick on Kennedy. He then looks toward the top of the crease, where three Fighting Irish players are surrounded by four Orange defensemen.

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But Chris maneuvers around Nick Caccamo into an open gap where Pat plays a perfectly-timed pass to Chris. Caccamo and Saam Olexo can’t recover in time as Chris is able to bury a low shot to the far post as he falls to his knees.


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