In the most competitive game of Terps' season, Maryland men's lacrosse edged historic rival Johns Hopkins in "The Rivalry" 11-8 to cement a 12-2 regular season record and become Big Ten Lacrosse regular season champions.
The final score indicates a relatively easy path to victory, but goalie Kyle Bernlohr had himself a day in the cage.
"This guy makes a living on highlight reel saves," said ESPNU's broadcaster after back-to-back acrobatic saves by Bernlohr. The senior took on 35 shots and allowed just eight goals while recording seven saves.
Junior attack Matt Rambo had an all-around fantastic day, with two goals and an assist to go along with a bevy of hustle plays that turned the tides in Baltimore. Colin Heacock, Dylan Maltz and Connor Kelly all scored a pair of goals as well.
This was not the typical shootout that both teams are accustomed to, with defenses playing incredible pressure knowing that the Big Ten title is on the line.
Hopkins capitalized early on its first extra-man opportunity of the game, but Maryland attack Tim Rotanz quickly retaliated to score his ninth goal of the season. The Terps followed with an onslaught of missed opportunities, but finally took a 2-1 lead after a hustle play by Rambo led to an easy fast break goal from Connor Kelly.
From there, offenses matched goal-for-goal while scoring on long offense possessions. Maryland grabbed a two-goal lead in the second quarter, but Hopkins' face-off Craig Madarasz continued to dominate and immediately ignited a fast break to bring the game within one goal before halftime.
They continued trading goals, with Hopkins eventually tying the game at 6-apiece in the third quarter to electrify the home field in Baltimore. But there's a reason the No. 3 Terrapins have been dubbed by some as "arguably the best team in the country." With all the momentum fading from Hillman's sideline, Maryland exploded for a five-goal unanswered run. Bryan Cole initiated the montage, and Rambo followed by straddling the crease to net his second goal of the game inches from the cage.
With nine minutes left, the 11-6 deficit the home team faced proved insurmountable, and the Terps would capture their first regular season win against their cross-state rival since 2012 to claim to the Rivalry Trophy.
Three Things to Know
1. Maryland has all the momentum at the right time
Suffice it to say, the Terps have silenced the early season critics. Eleven straight wins, with victories over ranked opponents both home and away. In a game referred to as "the best rivalry in the sport of collegiate lacrosse," Maryland was able to assert its fourth quarter dominance against one of the best teams in the country. The Terps are carrying plenty of momentum into the postseason, but more importantly: they're playing with swagger.
2. Austin Henningsen needs to make a return
The face-off differential against Johns Hopkins didn't end up losing the game for the Terps, but it very well could have. Will Bonaparte, Andrew Walsh and Curtis Corley combined for just five of the games 22 faceoffs, a different storyline than when one of the best freshman faceoff-men in the country headlines the committee. If the Terps want to make a championship run, they're going to have to win more than a quarter of their faceoffs.
3. Talent outshone production
On paper, Maryland didn't have that great of a day performance wise. It lost most of the faceoffs, committed five penalties (compared to the Blue Jays' one), and posted a minus-10 in ground balls scooped. But the talent loaded offense simply shined, and none of the logistics mattered.