With a rather small 5-foot-8, 170 pound frame, there is no doubt goalie Logan McNaney leaves plenty of space between the posts to score. Even so, his stick skills and impressive dexterity make up for his size and make almost every shot a tough one.
Ohio State learned very quickly how tough it would be to convert on McNaney. As an errant shot slung past the crease and landed at the feet of a Buckeye midfielder, Connor Cmiel, McNaney left his post and used his stick to take possession for himself and cracked the ball out of the cradle of Cmiel — allowing Maryland to start a transition opportunity of their own.
His work proved complementary of the defense in front of him. As the defense held Ohio State’s offense to a season low scoring effort and ultimately secured Maryland’s fifth win, McNaney stopped a majority of the shots that the Buckeyes took.
Aided by the defense once again, Maryland managed to supplant the Buckeyes for the tenth time all-time with a 16-8 victory.
“Certainly not our, our best performance,” head coach John Tillman said “In certain ways just didn’t feel like we played very well for long spurts but I felt our guys made timely plays. I thought our guys competed really hard.”
Ohio State was predictably met by a strong Maryland team with wrinkles to iron out. However, the issues that have pestered the Terps throughout the season weren’t as consequential as the Buckeyes’ who fell victim to their tepid offense.
Still, Saturday’s contest, like many between the two sides, was an offensive stalemate for much of the first quarter. Ohio State’s possessions were calculated and shots were reserved for the last few seconds of the shot clock or undeniable opportunities. Meanwhile, Maryland’s possessions were oftentimes rushed and inefficient.
Even without the services of Ryan Terefenko, the Buckeyes defense proved capable of manufacturing a concerted effort to mitigate some of Maryland’s typical success in the middle of the field. That was until attacker Eric Malever finished at the crease late in the first quarter with a jump shot slotted at the feet of Ohio State’s goaltender.
The Terps 2-1 lead taken at that point, quickly ballooned to 5-1 in the four minutes that would follow. In transition, in the man up, or on set plays, the Terrapins began swinging the ball and shifting the Buckeyes defense at their behest and completed nearly every possession in the period with a score.
As the second quarter began and the game rapidly changed pace, the Buckeyes seemingly were without answers on either side of the field. On the defense they were out-paced and were held susceptible to a superior scheme and set of athletes, on the offense it was more of the same, however, their gameplan did very little to force the issue.
The ball moved but the Terps’ defense did not.
The slow paced playstyle, which is typically an advantageous wrinkle of Ohio State’s offense, quickly became a hindrance as Maryland denied possessions with precision.
“I think Ohio State being able to play very methodical and slow was a good thing for them but you just can’t do that if you’re down,” Tillman said.
Before halftime, the Buckeyes took a stand and used a unique two man-up opportunity to halt Maryland’s six score run and added another goal to cut their 7-1 deficit to 7-3. But the Terps left the half with the momentum on their side thanks to a timely goal at the crease by attacker Daniel Maltz out of a timeout. With his toes just inches away from the restricted area, Maltz took a pass from attacker Logan Wisnauskas and thrusted a shot in one motion to further Maryland’s lead and close the half with an 8-3 advantage.
Following halftime, the Buckeyes took a swing that Maryland could not ignore. With their attack looking incredibly confident and the faceoff success perfect for the first three attempts, Ohio State rang off three early goals to keep Maryland on its toes. And in spite of a two-goal response by defender John Geppert and attacker Jared Bernhardt, the Terps would still spend the third quarter looking for a score as Ohio State comfortably inched back into the contest, cutting Maryland’s lead down to three.
“If you give a team that many extra opportunities, good teams are going to take advantage of them,” Tillman said.
Ultimately, the late match efforts by the Buckeyes, as formidable as they were, weren’t as impactful as the home side would have liked. The defensive work of the first half prompted an uphill battle that Ohio State failed to materialize. Five goals in the final half wasn’t enough. The Terps responded with a 6-1 run in the fourth quarter to put the Buckeyes away for good.
Three things to know
1. Maryland avoided a slow start. Ohio State’s offensive style of play, coupled with it’s wins at the faceoff, took considerable time off the clock, but when Maryland had possession, the Terps took great shots at times and rarely committed turnovers. This was especially evident in the second quarter as the Terps ran off to score five times with nine shots on goal. Their dominance did falter significantly in the third, when the Buckeyes made a strong push for the tie.
2. Logan McNaney had a solid afternoon. After being tasked with tending the goal against one of the nations most lethal offenses in Rutgers, McNaney bounced back with a powerful performance. He notched a 57% save percentage with 11 saves and helped complement the efforts of the defense with some work in clears as well.
“Whether it’s clears or knocking down a path or coming out and a loose ball ... I think the guys in front of [McNaney] just feel very confident when he’s in the bowl,” Tillman said.
3. Maryland didn’t have its usual success in the third quarter. In their first four games, the Terps have out scored their opponents 19-3. They were outscored for the first time all year in the third quarter 4-2. It was likely a combination of the Terps complacency and Ohio State’s improved confidence and offensive effort, still, it proved to be inconsequential.
“We’ve just got to dig in defensively, and then all offensively realize we got to be careful because if we’re going to play that sloppy our defense is going to get gassed,” Tillman said.