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Maryland men’s lacrosse vs. Johns Hopkins Big Ten championship preview

The Rivalry is back for the conference title game.

Maryland lacrosse vs. Albany Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

The 116th edition of The Rivalry between Maryland men’s lacrosse and Johns Hopkins bred a triple-overtime battle in Baltimore, and in case that game wasn’t satisfactory enough, the two teams will be meeting up for the second time in eight days.

The Big Ten regular season title was on the line when the Terps and Blue Jays met last Saturday — an 8-7 Maryland victory in triple-overtime — but this time it’ll be the conference’s tournament title up for grabs. (For more on Johns Hopkins, here’s the preview of the first game.)

Top-seeded Maryland defeated Rutgers, 12-9, on Thursday evening to claim its third straight trip to the championship. Hours later, Hopkins scored with 11.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to take down Ohio State, 6-5, in the second semifinal.

With the pair of wins, Hopkins and Maryland will continue the streak of winning every Big Ten tournament since its inception. The Blue Jays won the conference’s inaugural tournament in 2015, and the Terps are now the two-time defending champions. Both teams are locks in the NCAA Tournament, so a win will potentially help boost seeding.

The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

What happened last time

If you somehow don’t know what happened the last time these two teams met...

Will Snider in triple-overtime to claim the Big Ten regular season championship happened. The Terps trailed 7-5 midway through the fourth quarter, but battled back to tie the game and force overtime. Connor Kelly and Jared Bernhardt were held scoreless, but Snider recorded the game-tying and game-winning goals to clinch Maryland’s third straight win against its in-state rival. Goalkeeper Dan Morris tied his season-high with 13 saves, holding the Blue Jays scoreless for the last 21:40 (including overtime).

What happened since

Well, not much. This will be the second meeting between the two teams in a matter of eight days, with only one game in between.

Maryland knocked off Rutgers behind hat tricks from Bernhardt and Bubba Fairman, while Kelly and Logan Wisnauskas each added two goals. The Terps were relatively successful from the faceoff dot, winning 14 of 24 draws.

Against Ohio State in the second semifinal, Johns Hopkins was outshot 37-17, lost 11 of 14 faceoffs and collected 13 fewer ground balls, but scored a game-winning goal with 11 seconds left to advance. Goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh recorded 16 saves.

Three things to watch

  1. Will Connor Kelly and Jared Bernhardt produce this time around? The leaders of Maryland’s offense were almost entirely limited by the Blue Jays defensemen last weekend. It’s rare enough to hold one of them scoreless, but Hopkins silenced both — and Maryland still won. The duo combined for seven points against Rutgers, including a hat trick from Bernhardt.
  2. Can the Terps get a fifth straight win over the Blue Jays? A triple-overtime game had never happened in the the 100-plus year history between Maryland and Hopkins before last weekend. If the Terps can come away with a win, they’ll increase their winning streak against the Blue Jays to five, which has never been done in the series’ history.
  3. How will the rematch live up to last week’s meeting? It probably won’t, and that’s okay. It’ll be difficult to match the classic that featured lengthy scoring droughts, clutch defensive stands, costly turnovers and a game-winning goal from a relatively unknown hero in triple-overtime. Nonetheless, it’ll be another great chapter in the history of The Rivalry, especially with the Big Ten title on the line and the Blue Jays looking for revenge.