Maryland remains undefeated after thrilling finish of “the rivalry”

For the second time this season, the greatest rivalry in the sport caught the attention of the national media as the number one ranked Terps looked to continue perfection against their long time rivals in Johns Hopkins. Earlier this season, Maryland used an 11-0 scoring run to defeat Johns Hopkins back in early March. Although Hopkins is having a down year, when these two face, anything can happen on the field.

The best player in the NCAA Jared Bernhardt wasted no time getting Maryland off to a hot start. Maryland, who is notorious for slow starts, did not live up to that narrative today. Bernhardt netted two goals on Maryland’s first two possessions then a Griffin Brown goal made it three to nothing before Hopkins could even have a possession on offense.

Maryland continued their patient play on the perimeter throughout the first and were able to notch another two goals to go up 5-0. It wasn’t until 7 seconds left in the quarter that Hopkins was able to get their first goal of the game and make it 5-1 after the first. If it weren’t for some terrific saves by the Hopkins goalie, Maryland may have been up by as many as eight goals after one.

Early in the second quarter, Hopkins began to pick up the play. As the Bluejays began to win faceoffs, they began to put the pressure on the Terps. With 9:27 left in the second, Joey Epstein got the Bluejays their  second goal in a 1:27 span to cut the Terp lead to just two.

Moments later, Bernhardt notched his hat trick for the day scoring his third goal already. However, on the ensuing faceoff, Hopkins immediately took the draw and scored to get that goal right back. Maryland held a 6-4 lead midway through the second. 

As the second winded down, Maryland used two long possessions featured by their terrific ball movement to give them a four goal lead after Wisnouskas and Griffin Brown each scored their second goals of the game. Maryland showed just how good they can be when they can slow down their offense and move the ball around for almost 70 seconds at a time before finding an open dodge or shot.

For Maryland, turnovers were a bit of an issue during the first half. For a team that normally does a great job protecting possession, seven turnovers in the half was a bit out of character for the number one ranked Terps. To make things worse for Maryland, Hopkins scored two goals at the very end of the half including one with just two seconds left. This sent both teams into the half in only a three-goal game. Hopkins after their slow start turned this thing into a game. Maryland led 9-6 after the first half.

Hopkins got off to a strong start in the second half as Connor Desimone scored his second goal of the game just one minute into the third quarter. This left Hopkins trailing only by two now. On the next possession, Hopkins continued to pick up the momentum after their goaltender Tim Marcille continued his terrific play in the cage and made two outstanding saves keeping it a two goal game. To make things even better for themselves, Hopkins on the next possession scored a long goal to make it now just a one goal game with 9 minutes left in the third. 

` It didn’t end there for Hopkins. After winning the draw, Brett Baskin’s fourth goal this season tied the game up at nine a piece. Hopkins after being down 9-4 had stormed all the way back to tie it up. Maryland had completely lost their mojo offensively. Even on a man up opportunity, Maryland was unable to get off a single shot. Finally, with four minutes left in the third, Bubba Fairman got Maryland back into the scoring column and regave them the one-goal lead. Although Maryland was up, they didn’t look right. Another Maryland turnover just minutes later allowed for Hopkins to once again tie the game now at 10 a piece.

Maryland took a one goal lead into the fourth quarter after a score with just five seconds left in the quarter. However, a costly penalty on Maryland in the first couple minutes allowed the BlueJays to tie the game on a man up opportunity. Maryland’s self-inflicted errors were continuing to allow Hopkins to stay toe to toe with the Terps. 

With 9:27 left in the ballgame, Hopkins got their first lead of the game from a Desimone rip from the left side. Maryland was now in danger of losing for the first time all year. Defensively, Maryland for most of the game and especially the second half looked very passive. Too often the Terps were allowing for Johns Hopkins to have loads of space to get open shots. Another Maryland penalty led to a score giving Hopkins a two-goal lead with only 5 minutes to go. Maryland was in major trouble.

With 1:48 to go, Wisnouskas gave Maryland a little life making an incredible goal while falling backwards around the crease. Maryland now trailed 13-12. Maryland then takes the next faceoff and gets it to Bernhardt immediately. The best player in the NCAA showed just why he is. Bernhardt tied the game on a running shot for his fourth goal of the game making it two goals in 12 seconds for Maryland. Bernhardt, who had been quiet since early in the second quarter came through in the biggest moment for Maryland.

Just moments later, Wisnouskas who had been the most consistent player for Maryland today made the play of the game. With 18 seconds to go, Wisnouskas ripped a shot into the top right corner from the left side point. Maryland then was able to win the final faceoff and run the clock out. Maryland clinched their first undefeated regular season since 1987.

In a somewhat sloppy effort, Maryland was able to keep their perfect season alive when it had all seemed lost with just minutes left in the game. A two-goal deficit was erased within 12 seconds. Today’s contest was a true revealing of the competitiveness of this rivalry. Hopkins, who was 2-7 coming into this game, played an absolutely terrific game and provided Maryland their first scare this season. Even after falling behind 5-0 early, Hopkins rallied and never hung their heads as they crawled back. Maryland showed terrific composure late in the game coming from behind that quickly even after playing one of their worst halves all season. All together, compelling performances by both teams.

Maryland finishes the regular season undefeated and with momentum heading into the Big 10 finals in the coming weeks. For Maryland, today may have been the wake-up call they needed as Johns Hopkins was nearly able to pull off the miraculous upset. It’s the greatest rivalry in the sport for a reason.

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