March 3, 2009
CATONSVILLE, MD - The 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team built a seven-goal lead early in the fourth quarter and held off a furious rally by sixth-ranked UMBC as the Blue Jays escaped with a 14-11 victory at chilly UMBC Stadium Tuesday night. Hopkins, which trailed for a total of just seven seconds in the game, improves to 2-1 overall and improves to 7-0 all-time against UMBC. The Retrievers had their three-game season-opening winning streak snapped and slip to 3-1.
The Blue Jays led 8-5 at the half and were up just 8-6 after UMBC's Chris Jones scored an unassisted goal less than two minutes into the third quarter. It took Johns Hopkins less than 90 seconds to extend the lead back to three as sophomore Kyle Wharton fired home his fifth goal of the season with 11:48 remaining in the third quarter to make it 9-6.
The three-goal lead held for the Blue Jays until late in the period, when an unassisted goal by Chris Boland ignited a four-goal spree than took less than six minutes and pushed the lead to 13-6. Boland had a hand in the first three goals during the run as he assisted on back-to-back goals by Josh Peck and Tim Donovan after his own marker before junior Michael Kimmel scored his third goal of the game with 11:28 remaining to give the Blue Jays what appeared was a comfortable seven-goal lead.
It took the Retrievers less than eight minutes to hop back in the game as a Kyle Wimer goal 19 seconds after Kimmel's tally ignited a five-goal run for the Retrievers that may have been bigger if not for a pair of key plays by Johns Hopkins goalie Michael Gvozden in the final three minutes.
An extra-man goal by Rob Grimm less than 30 seconds after Wimer's goal made it 13-8 and Alex Hopmann sandwiched unassisted goals around another goal by Jones to make it 13-11 with 3:34 remaining.
That would be as close as the Retrievers would get as Gvozden came up with a big save on a Peet Poillon shot with 1:47 remaining and then intercepted a pass by Grimm in front of the net with 1:14 remaining to kill UMBC's last chance. Wharton closed the scoring with an extra-man goal in the final seconds to account for the 14-11 final score.
Ryan Smith had given UMBC an early 1-0 lead when he slipped home his fifth goal of the season with 12:55 remaining in the first quarter. It took the Blue Jays and sophomore Matt Dolente just seven seconds to get the equalizer as Dolente cleanly won the faceoff after Smith's goal and beat UMBC goalie Jeremy Blevins from five yards out with his first goal of the season.
The clean win on the faceoff for Dolente was his second straight to open the game and the Blue Jays would win the first 10 faceoffs of the game before UMBC would win its first late in the second quarter.
The domination on faceoffs, which came largely on the efforts of junior Michael Powers, helped the Blue Jays slowly begin to take control after Dolente's goal. An unassisted goal by senior Brian Christopher with 1:20 remaining in the first quarter was followed closely by an extra-man goal from junior Steven Boyle to make it 3-1 at the end of the first.
A Poillon tally just over 90 seconds into the second quarter drew the Retrievers to within one, but Kimmel and Boyle added unassisted goals just over two minutes apart midway through the period to make it 5-2. The teams traded the next six goals to account for the 8-5 Hopkins lead at the half before Jones' goal early in the third quarter set the stage for what turned out to be a run just big enough for the Blue Jays to hold off the late spree by the Retrievers.
The Blue Jays' starting attack unit of Boyle, Boland and Wharton combined for seven goals and four assists with Boland and Wharton both netting two goals and two assists. The four points are a career-high for both, while Boyle's three goals improve his career totals in three games against UMBC to seven goals and five assists. Kimmel added his second straight hat trick to a balanced offensive attack that netted its 14 goals on just 35 shots.
The star of the game for the Blue Jays was clearly Powers, who entered the game having won 10-of-20 faceoffs in his career, but won 17-of-24 with nine ground balls on the night. He is the first Johns Hopkins player to win 15 or more faceoffs in a game since Greg Peyser won 15 against Hofstra on March 13, 2005. Powers' efforts helped the Blue Jays to a 19-of-26 showing on faceoffs and a 38-20 advantage on faceoffs.
UMBC got a game-high four goals from Hopmann and two goals from Poillon and Jones, but Wimer, who entered the game with 14 points in three games, was held to just the one goal. Blevens posted nine saves in goal for the Retrievers, who converted on 4-of-5 extra-man chances, but couldn't overcome the discrepancies in faceoffs and ground balls.
Johns Hopkins will be back in action on Saturday when the Blue Jays host ninth-ranked Hofstra. The game against the Pride will be the third of six straight against teams currently ranked in the top nin in the nation.
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