Joe McDermott scored nearly 1:30 into the OT period to propel Johns Hopkins (7-1) over a disheartened Maryland (7-2) team, 6-5, in front of nearly 8200 fans at Byrd Stadium. The Blue Jays, while never relinquishing their lead, certainly never felt comfortable, as the game was tied on three occasions, including the end of regulation. Stubborn defenses on both ends of the field kept two of the top five highest scoring offenses to only 11 goals combined.
It was Johns Hopkins ability to control the face-offs that enabled them to gain control of the ball on 10 of the 14 face-offs throughout the game. Initially this proved invaluable as they were able to control much of the pace of play. On only their first possession, the first for either team, the Blue Jays were able to convert on Kyle Harrison’s unassisted rip. Making use of a screen in front of Maryland’s goalie Danny McCormick, the sophomore middie stuck his shot top shelf and gave his team the initial lead, only 0:40 into action. Again the face-off belonged to Hopkins, but unable to convert, the Terps were able get hold of the ball, but appeared somewhat casual as they were unable to penetrate the Hopkins defense which played both man and zone throughout. After unsuccessful attempts for both teams, Maryland was finally able to tie the game. Their goal came from freshman standout Joe Walters, who, after taking a feed from Dan LaMonica, was able to find the back of the net. Although the remainder of the quarter was full of opportunities for both teams, the only other goal of the first quarter came with only 0:01 remaining on the clock. Blue Jay Peter LeSueur was able to find Adam Doneger for the score, forging a 2-1 Hopkins lead at the break. The first quarter was host to solid team defense and overall equal play, minus the Maryland vulnerability on the face-offs, but nonetheless showed the crowd that this, like so many of the previous 98 matches between these teams was going to truly be a classic.
The second quarter would produce only three combined goals, unusual for these normally high powered offenses. Hopkins started the scoring when LeSueur found Kevin Boland for only his seventh goal of the season, but his first of two on the night. It was a hard over the top shot that painted the back side of the pipe. With a 1-3 lead, Hopkins felt just a bit more comfortable, but that didn’t last long. Only 2:00 later, Maryland’s Brian Hunt found Paul Gillette to enliven the crowd and bring the score back to within one. But as was the case throughout the game, no change in momentum went unchecked as Hopkins responded less than a minute later. This time it was Kyle Barrie who, dropped his stick low and ripped a grounder between the legs of McCormick. This goal, Barrie’s 21st of the season, came with 9:14 left in the first half, but would be the last score for either team until play resumed in the second half. The ensuing face-off proved to be the first and only Maryland win from the midfield X during the half. At the break, Hopkins barely edged the Terps in shots, 14-13, while being less successful on clears. The 4-2 score was a relatively good indicator as to how the game was played, but certainly Maryland felt that their offensive production needed to improve if there was real chance for victory. Also of note, the first half was played penalty free, a testament the less than belligerent defensive play that has come to characterize each teams’ composed long-poles.
Even though Maryland knew more goals were needed, as did Johns Hopkins, the Blue Jays were the first to strike in the second half. Boland’s second score of the night gave his team the largest lead that it had enjoyed, and the largest lead that it would enjoy. The goal was scored with a penalty flag in the air and seemed to shift much of the game’s momentum in favor of Johns Hopkins. But in the face of this challenge, Maryland proceeded to go on a 3 goal run that felt more like a marathon than a sprint. It would take nearly 17:30, over a span of two quarters, for the Terps to tie the game, 5-5. The first in this series came from Justin Smith. It was the only Maryland goal of the third quarter and came of a pass from LaMonica, he second assist of the night.
Facing a two goal deficit, Maryland had its work cut out for the final quarter of regulation. Ryan Moran took the initiative with just over 4:30 played in the fourth, as he drove hard to his right and bounced a hard shot past Hopkins goalie Rob Scherr, who finished the night with 15 saves. Maryland, within one, had an unmistakable determination to score the tying goal. With all but the score in Maryland’s favor at this point, LaMonica, cutting from behind, was able to finish an Ian Healy pass from the wing to tie the game with 8:37 left. While the LaMonica score turned out to be the final goal of regulation, each team had excellent opportunities to convert a game-winning goal. With possession, Hopkins called timeout to set up an offensive with 5:14 left, but that was to no avail. Similarly, Maryland had an opportunity with 1:30 left in a set offense, but it proved to be ineffective as the Maryland offense lost control of the ball, seeming hesitant to shoot. So the game went into OT and the anxiety within the stadium was undoubtedly felt.
Ironically it was Maryland who won the face-off that began play in overtime. Having gained possession, an immediate timeout was called by the Terps. In a disappointing series, the most costly of turnovers occurred without putting a shot on goal. Like Maryland, Hopkins called a timeout upon gaining possession in order to set-up their offensive scheme, but unlike Maryland theirs proved successful. Driving from X, Joe McDermott slid between his man and the crease, and before a slide could come from the hot man, McDermott scored only his fourth goal of the season to carry his Blue Jays to a most electrifying victory.
|Dan Lamonica||(1, 2)|
|Paul Gillette||(1, 0)|
|Brian Hunt||(0, 1)|
|Brendan Healy||(0, 1)|
|Joe Walters||(1, 0)|
|Justin Smith||(1, 0)|
|Ryan Moran||(1, 0)|
|Danny Mccormick||7 (0.538)|