Both teams came out playing some extremely tough defense led by stellar goalie play from both keepers; particularly UVa’s Kip Turner who faced 10 shots and made six saves in the first quarter alone. The quarter ended with zeros across the board and stayed that way until 4:49 left in the first half when Hopkins finally broke the drought. Sidenote: This is the first time neither team notched a goal in the first quarter of a final four matchup.
The goal came from senior middie Joseph Malo as he dodged from the front left and hit just under the top crossbar with a diving side arm shot. 1-0 Hopkins. Fellow senior Peter Leseur followed Malo’s goal in a similar fashion, however this time he dodged from X. He beat his man, came around the goal and dove as he was greeted by two sliding defensemen, hitting the net over Turner’s shoulder. 2-0 Hopkins.
Virginia was playing well, however they just couldn’t sneak one past Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman until Matt Ward caught a pass a few steps inside the restraining line from Kyle Dixon. Ward stepped up and fired the high to low shot past Schwartzman for Virginia’s first goal of the Final Four. That was all they wrote however, as Hopkins and Virginia would head into the locker rooms with the lowest scoring output in semifinals history: 2-1 Hopkins.
The second half started out much different than the first, as it took Hopkins only 10 seconds to get on the board. The opening faceoff came down and ended up with Kevin Huntley who hit a wide open Kyle Barrie out front. Barrie took two steps and ripped an underhand low to high just under the top crossbar. 3-1 Hopkins. The Blue Jays struck again under a minute later as Paul Rabil found Jake Byrne on the side right who hit the back of the net with a high to high shot to the near corner. 4-1 Hopkins. The barrage seemed to be endless however, as Hopkins then hit two pipes on outside shots before again finding the net with Joseph Malo five holing Turner for his second of the day and ninth on the year.
John Christmas ended the bleeding with a righty dodge from the top right two minutes later, as he roll dodged, beating his defender in the process, slipped by another defenseman and then dove towards the crease, hitting the net for Virginia’s second of the game. 5-2 Hopkins. Hopkins won the following faceoff and the ball ended up in the back right corner with a delayed call coming. As the whistle blew, Cav’s defenseman Ricky Smith ran through a flat footed Kyle Harrison, resulting in a one minute unsportsmanlike penalaty. Hopkins wasted the opportunity however, immediately tossing a softball pitch to Turner who spotted JJ Morrissey breaking up the field around the midline. Turner launched the ball, hitting Morrissey in stride who, passing up the fast break option, decided to take it himself. He ripped the high to low shot on the run and the decision paid off. 5-3 Hopkins.
After another UVa penalty however, Hopkins savored the ensuing man up with perfect ball movement around the outside, eventually ending up with Paul Rabil behind. Rabil immediately quick sticks the ball to the crease and finds Matt Rekowski cutting lefty just in perfect time and, despite the feed being a little low, handled it beautifully with an underhanded quick stick of his own. 6-3 Hopkins. Needless to say, the third quarter was a tad more exciting than the opening half, however all the commotion seemed to get mother nature going as clouds covered the sky and a wind/rain storm moved through the stadium just on time for the opening faceoff of the fourth quarter. White napkins were sent flying all over the field and it was almost impossible to differentiate between the ball and flying debris; it looked like a ticker tape parade.
All the distractions didn’t seem to both Virginia however, as Matt Ward struck back for his second of the day off a Johnny Christmas feed followed immediately by Ben Rubeor sticking an outside shot off a JJ Morrissey led fastbreak from the ensuing faceoff. 6-5 Hopkins.
The Hoos then looked like they tied it up, as Matt Poskay poked in a rebound from just outside the crease, however he was pushed in before the ball crossed the goalines and despite being called a goal by one ref, another waved it off, giving Virginia possession instead. They had several good looks, however nothing concrete came about until Benson Erwin was called for a push and UVa got a man advantage. The man up went to work and Ben Rubeor eventually found Matt Ward out top, who ripped the shot and earned his third of the game, tying the score at six with just under eight minutes to play.
Another Hopkins penalty, this time for unsportsmanlike conduct, gave Virginia the man up and NJ’s all time leading HS scorer, Matt Poskay, put the Cavs up by one with five minutes left to play. They worked the ball around with great precision considering the rain that was coming down, and eventually Brendan Gill spotted Poskay cutting towards the crease, giving Virginia their first lead of the game. 7-6 Virginia. The goal caused the Cavalier bench to explode and the lightning came right along with it. As Virginia celebrated, the officials forced a lightning delay and the team sprinted into the locker room going nuts. Hopkins, obviously a little dejected with UVa’s four goal run was a bit more casual as they headed in.
The game started back up just after 5:00 PM and it was all Kyle Harrison from the get go. He wins the opening draw and, after a bit of a scuffle for the ball, sets up out top. He goes immediately into a righty dodge and rips a high to high past Kip Turner who didn’t even look like he saw it coming. 7-7.
The following faceoff kicked around until it ended up in Virginia’s hands and they took advantage. They immediately went into stall mode holding the ball until around thirty seconds left, upon which they called a timeout.
After the timeout, UVa worked the ball around and with the time ticking down, put their hopes into Matt Ward’s stick. Ward dodged from out top, rolling back and forth hoping to find some shooting room, and with 12.9 second left, he did. Ward rolled back once, dodged through two defenders and fired the shot home for his fourth of the day. The stands erupted and Ward waved his arms, telling them all that it wasn’t over yet. How right he was. 8-7 Virginia.
For whatever reason, Hopkins decided not to send everybody’s All American Kyle Harrison out for the faceoff, opting instead for junior Greg Peyser. Peyser didn’t win the draw, but fought for it and eventually managed to get it up and into Jake Byrne’s stick. Byrne, with the clock under five seconds, took off towards the goal and with exactly 1.4 seconds left to play, let a lefty skipping bouncer fly. He hit it. Lincoln Stadium went nuts and the Hopkins bench erupted.
Hoping to steal a page out of Coach Urick’s book, the Virginia coaching staff then decided to call a stick check on Byrne’s stick. This check, however, ended up much different than last week’s for Maryland’s Billy McGlone, and the refs ended up finding no issues whatsoever.
Overtime started with Virginia winning the draw and calling timeout. They worked it around and once again left the ball in Matt Ward’s stick. Ward started out top again and, just as before, got some shooting room and let the ball sail. Goalie Jesse Schwartzman was ready this time however, making the stop and the Hopkins defense got the rebound up and out. It was now the Blue Jays turn and they managed to get just as good a shot as UVa, which was likewise snatched up by Kip Turner and sent back to the other end. So the Cavalier offense gives it another try, but is again thwarted by the Hopkins defense. Neither team seems to be able to catch a break in the OT, that is until Hopkins gets their transition going after the stop. Paul Rabil legs the ball the length of the field and attracts a double team as the rest of the middies catch up. The problem is, eveyone’s focusing on Rabil as defensive middie Benson Erwin, four goals on the season, catches up with the play. Rabil turns and hits the wide open Erwin out top with 50.7 seconds left in OT and he lets another skipping bounce shot go…and just like Byrne’s, he hits it. A defensive player who Coach Pietramala has called the team’s unsung hero, stepped out into the spotlight by sending the undefeated Johns Hopkins Blue Jays into the national championship game. Hopkins- Duke for all the marbles on moday.
|Paul Rabil||(0, 3)|
|Joseph Malo||(2, 0)|
|Jake Byrne||(2, 0)|
|Kyle Barrie||(1, 0)|
|Benson Erwin||(1, 0)|
|Peter Lesueur||(1, 0)|
|Matt Rewkowski||(1, 0)|
|Kevin Huntley||(0, 1)|
|Kyle Harrison||(1, 0)|
|Jesse Schwartzman||11 (0.579)|