Maryland had reeled off two comfortable wins in a row over Penn and Drexel, but Saturday's tilt against Princeton posed a different threat. With the Tigers electric offense, this would be perhaps the Terps' toughest test of the season. They came through strongly, blowing out PU 11-4.
The game opened with 3 consecutive turnovers. After an opening face-off win by Charlie Raffa, Isaiah Davis-Allen turned it over. On PU's opening possession the Terps forced a turnover without the Tigers getting a shot off. And then Princeton forced another turnover after a strong ride.
Kyle Bernlohr was forced to make a strong save on Princeton's second possession, after the Tigers hit a pipe. The Terps opening possession came about 5 minutes in and despite getting a few decent looks they couldn't put anything on cage. Bernlohr made another save on the ensuing possession before Maryland once again turned the ball over, their 4th of the game to that point.
Our first shot clock warning came at 6:49 of the 1Q on Princeton. Dman Matt Dunn forced the turnover in front on Kip Orban and Maryland cleared.
The Terps got on the board first at 5:24 of Q1, with Matt Rambo cranking a low to high shot from the left wing past Eric Sanschagrin. Raffa won the ensuing face-off but Sanschagrin made an easy save off an alley dodge by Joe LoCascio. Princeton took advantage on their next possession after a roll dodge by Jake Frocarro and he bounced one past Bernlohr to level the game at 1.
Princeton had the final lengthy possession of Q1 but couldn't get any quality looks and once again got slapped with a shot clock warning. Maryland's sliding was causing the Tigers loads of problems any time they tried to drive towards the cage. After the 1st it was Maryland 1-1 Princeton.
Both teams turned it over on their opening possessions of the 2nd Quarter without getting any quality looks. Sound familiar? It was a pretty slopping opening for both teams in the early stages. Princeton's troubles with the shot clock continued in Q2, with the Tigers committing a violation. The Terps re-took the lead at 9:21 as Henry West drove down the alley and snuck a shot past Sancschagrin from a tight angle.
Maryland's second line midfield of Connor Kelly, Colin Heacock, and Bobby Gribbin got a strong run of playing time during the middle of Q2 and eventually drew a penalty on PU. This was a big opportunity for the Terps with the Tigers allowing Extra Man goals at a 58% clip. Henry West took a frankly awful shot, high to high, stick side and it was an easy save. Maryland's EMO past without incident.
Ironically West was called for a penalty not long after, putting Maryland down a man. The only shot of the EMO for Princeton was a one handed behind the back shot Mike MacDonald which went wide. But quickly after it expired Gavin McBride drove in from Goal Line Extended and fired low to high past Bernlohr to tie the game up at 2-2.
With 1:24 left in the half, Maryland broke quickly in transition and after picking the ball up on the wing, Rambo drove down the wing and ripped one to the top corner for his 2nd of the day.
At halftime the score was Maryland 3-2 Princeton
After a Raffa face-off violation - his 3rd of the game, which has been a big issue for him this season - Princeton went on offense first in the second half. Their were no open looks and Bernlohr made an easy save.
The opening tally of the second half came from Henry West, after a strong alley dodge and low shot that snuck through the five hole of Sanschagrin. 4-2 Terps.
Princeton responded after a lengthy possession courtesy of Bear Altemus. Altemus turned after a question mark dodge from the right alley and fired one far side. Maryland responded after a long possession of their own with Maltz attacking from Goal Line Extended and ripped one to the top corner in front. 5-3 Terps with 7:14 left in Q3. Every time PU seemed to make a rally Maryland answered and kept their two goal cushion.
Almost immediately after the 5th Maryland goal, Princeton was called for a penalty in a fight for the ball off the face-off which sent Maryland to the extra man. After some quality ball movement Henry West forced a save from Sanschagrin. But Jay Carlson was right there in front to follow up, depositing the rebound. This sparked a big flurry from Maryland which blew the game open.
Raffa won another face-off and quickly broke for a Maryland fast break. He fed Carlson who was cutting from behind the cage and despite falling to his knees Jay sent a bullet to the roof. 2 goals in about 8 seconds and the score was 7-3 Maryland. They weren't done though. Just a minute later Joe LoCascio got space on the wing and fired an absolute bomb into the back of the net. It was 8-3 after a four goal blitz in about just 3 minutes.
Charlie Raffa had gotten into a groove in the 3Q, and Maryland used his face-off wins to their advantage. Even the 2nd line midfield got into the scoring, with Colin Heacock breaking from behind the net and sticking an off balance shot into the far side. 9-3 Maryland.
After a 7-1 quarter and a 5-0 run in just 4 minutes, it was 9-3 Maryland after Q3.
As was a theme of the beginning of nearly every quarter in this game....the teams started by turning it over back and forth. Princeton had a man-up opportunity but got just one shot off out of it which was stopped. Both teams tested the respective netminders over the next few minutes but weren't able to find the net.
Matt Rambo earned his hat trick with 6:18 left in the quarter, dipping the shoulder underneath his defender and bouncing one low into the net. 10-3 Terps.
Sam Gravitte, a LSM, drove all the way to the net himself straight down the field and scored, making the score 10-4. Maryland started mixing up the offense with the clock running down and this resulted in Dave Goodwin getting a goal, as he drove from behind and fired a shot home on the wrap-around. 11-4 Maryland. There would be no more scoring the rest of the way and the Terps got the victory.
Final: Maryland 11-4 Princeton
This was a great performance by the Terps. They held Princeton, the 7th ranked offense in the country in goals per game, to just 4 goals which is below the average Maryland holds it's opponents too. The offense had some questionable shots and shot location but they showed some great individual offense and passing.
Maryland will take go on the road next Saturday to meet the Villanova Wildcats.