With two teams who are so very similar, this was expected to be a tight match-up with little room to separate these squads. That's not how it turned out, with Maryland blowing out and doubling up a Bryant Bulldogs team looking to pull off another upset, 16-8. Maryland was determined to make this season a successful one and get to another Final Four, and they did so.
The FO battle was one of the most intriguing storylines going in and Raffa won the first for Maryland. Mike Chanenchuk made it count, drawing a short stick match up and finishing far side 1:23 in. Raffa won another FO and Henry West scored soon after with a little shake and bake. The run continued after another Raffa FO win, this time an inside finish with Jay Carlson rewarding John Tillman for putting him in the line-up with a finish right on the crease. Mike Pressler needed time-out with his Bryant squad having no momentum. Raffa continued his work at the X and after a patient possession Joe LoCascio let fire to make it 4-0 not even 5 minutes in.
Bryant got their first goal at 9:24 on their first possession after Waldt made a save on Raffa. The goal was a sharp alley dodge by Tucker James. Massa jumped on the next FO, making Raffa 6/6. The Terps would restore the four goal lead with an easy overhand step down for LoCascio. Maryland's next possession was more patient, and their opening shot was high from Chanenchuk. Mike ran the offense beautifully however, and threaded the needle for Cannizzaro to finish on the door step and make it 6-1.
The patience continued and Chanenchuk strolled down the alley and scored top shelf with 4:46 left to make it 7-1. Bryant got one with 2:50 left with Dan Sipperly finishing on the crease after a nice inside feed. The score would remain the same the rest of the way and led 7-2.
Maryland opened the scoring in the 2nd, 1:37 in. Joe LoCascio notched his hat-trick with a scorcher of a step down shot. Bryant won the next FO, and held a lengthy possession before Maryland forced a TO. After a successful clear the Terps used some early offense and Chanenchuk got his hat trick with a goal off a right alley dodge. Maryland nearly made it 10-2 with an open shot on Waldt, but the Bryant goalie made a big save, and the Bulldogs quickly attacked and scored through Shane Morrell to cut the lead to 6. Waldt continued to make some big saves, keeping BU in the game. Colin Dunster got another goal for the Bulldogs with 4:01 left off a very sharp split dodge.
Bryant was improving, and it was led by Massa winning a few FO's. Maryland needed some big saves by Amato, and Niko was up to the task stopping some big Bulldog opportunities.
Maryland held the final possession of the half but couldn't cash in. Still, 9 goals off a very strong Bryant defense, and a 5 goal lead was a fantastic first half performance. The key was the last 30 minutes, and keeping up the intensity to hold the lead and advance to Championship Weekend.
Bryant won the opening FO of the 3rd, but Tucker James' shot was easy for Amato. Maryland nearly scored on their next possession, but Jay Carlson stepped in the crease on a dive to the net and it was waved off. After a lengthy Bryant possession, the Terps forced a TO. Maryland was patient itself before Cannizzaro attacked from Goal Line Extended, ducked under his man, and finished in front.
Maryland's D continued to force turnovers and it gave the O more and more chances to score. They did that with 7 and change left, after Chanenchuk went down the alley, but hesitated and curled top side and ripped past Waldt for his 4th to make it 11-4 UMD. Bryant cut the lead to 6 after a nice wrap around finish with 6:46 left.
Massa was starting to get into a rhythm at the X, but Bryant TO's were rendering it meaningless. After a forced TO by Murray and Ehrhardt, the Terps looked to push but slowed it down. Rambo would draw an Extra Man Opportunity. Maryland cashed in off a quick stick inside, and then scored again right after picking up Rambo's rebound and scoring. He had a hat trick an it was 13-5 Terps with under 5 left.
UMD changed it up at the X, giving the banged up Raffa a rest and going with Jon Garino. Bryant's next sequence was sharp with quick ball movement and Dunster found the middle of the field and scored. Maryland added another from Cannizzaro to end the 3rd, giving Maryland 3 players with hat tricks and another with 4 goals.
Maryland opened the 4th on an EMO but couldn't cash in. Bryant scored two goals in the next few minutes, cutting the UMD lead to 6, with Colin Dunster continuing his great day.
The pace slowed down the rest of the way, with Rambo and Chanenchuk playing tack on for UMD. The Terps would double up Bryant and advance to Championship Weekend for the 3rd time in 4 years under John Tillman.
This was a dominant performance from Maryland in all facets. Offense, defense, face-offs. They blew 16 past a very good Bryant D and they're a team playing with momentum as they head to Baltimore for the Final Four.