When Maryland opened Big Ten conference play against the Michigan Wolverines last season, the Terps cruised to an easy 15-8 victory in College Park.
However, that win came with associate head coach Kevin Conry on the Maryland sideline. This season, Conry swapped Maryland’s red and black for Michigan’s maze and blue. While the margin of victory was almost identical for Maryland, there was much more to overcome.
The No. 2 Terps (8-1) outlasted their former defensive coordinator’s No. 15 Michigan Wolverines (7-3) 13-5 in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon, scoring the final seven goals of the contest.
Despite outstanding goalie play, faceoff success and holding senior midfielder Connor Kelly scoreless, Michigan’s own mistakes became its downfall in the game.
Senior goalie Tommy Heidt made 15 saves, some of them in acrobatic fashion, to prevent Maryland from running away with it in the first three quarters. Freshman faceoff specialist Connor Cronin took Maryland’s Justin Shockey out of the game with a dominant first half display. And Conry’s newly invigorated Michigan defense canceled out Maryland’s leading scorer. Yet, all of those successes came up short on the final scoreboard due to 18 turnovers and a loss of composure.
Hat tricks by redshirt freshman Logan Wisnauskas and freshman midfielder Bubba Fairman led Maryland’s balanced offense to a late 5-0 surge in the fourth quarter to close out the season’s first conference victory.
To start the game, both teams were largely figuring each other out in the first quarter, playing sound help defense to prevent any high scoring. The first goal didn’t come until six minutes into the game, when sophomore attackman Jared Bernhardt connected with Wisnauskas off the dodge, as the Syracuse transfer took the extra step to glory around the crease the finish inside.
However, Michigan responded a minute later, as Chase Young drew the eyes of the defense before dishing Noseworthy for his 32nd goal of the year.
Another six minutes passed before the Terps could retake the lead. The second-line midfield once again stepped up as Anthony DeMaio dodged from the right wing before finding a cutting Colin Giblin down the right pipe. Giblin finished past Heidt the shot in the bottom left corner. Still, Heidt came up big in that first quarter, making six saves to keep the Terrapin offense at bay.
The Wolverines took little time to respond in the second quarter, as Noseworthy found Decker Curran for the sidearm goal. Then, Bryce Young scored in transition to make it 3-2. Young’s goal was reminiscent of Conry’s style, as he led the Terps to be the highest-scoring defense last season.
Michigan’s Young answered with an impressive dodge and score moments later before the Terps went on a 3-0 run to end the half. Goals from Wisnauskas, Rotanz and Bernhardt gave Maryland breathing room before the intermission.
Watch as Bernhardt executes the “question mark” dodge to perfection coming around the left side of the cage.
— Kevin Brown (@kevbrown89) March 31, 2018
Still, Michigan’s Cronin dominated the from the faceoff X, winning 7-of-10 before junior Will Bonaparte and Austin Henningsen came in as a replacements. Nine first half turnovers haunted Michigan’s first half offense despite the added possessions.
Noseworthy got things going in the second half with his second goal off some great ball movement after getting a rebound. The Wolverines cut Maryland’s lead to one goal from Young’s dodge off the pic from up top, slashing inside to make it 6-5.
Two costly mistakes from the Wolverines allowed Maryland to build on that lead. First, with the shot clock winding down, Curran continued to keep the ball in his crosse before dropping it about 10 yards further up the field from where it was supposed to be to give Maryland a running start. Short stick defensive midfielder Drew Harrison took advantage and took Curran to the rack, spinning and dodging to score his first career goal.
Then, freshman attackman Alex Buckanavage lost his composure and checked Bryce Young after the whistle and as called for the penalty. Then, Bubba Fairman capitalized on the extra man opportunity off the Kelly assist, with this beautiful time and room effort
— Kevin Brown (@kevbrown89) March 31, 2018
Kelly was held without a point up until that initial Fairman goal, and he assisted another with a skip pass to the doorstep where Fairman finished inside for the second consecutive man-up goal.
Maryland then poured it on with four more goals in the final nine minutes against a seemingly fatigued Michigan defense. Giblin scored a jump shot goal for his second after a beautiful ride from a more engaged Kelly. Then, Giblin turned provider in a career-high three point performance with an assist to Wisnauskas for his third goal.
Henningsen ran in and scored an emotional goal in transition after getting benched for the last few games to further the Michigan bleeding. Fairman put the game to bed with his third and final goal with no help defense in sight.
Despite a poor fourth quarter performance, Michigan showed signs of a program making true strides towards competing against the nation’s top programs each week.
The Terps on the other hand put in hard-fought performance to seal its first conference win to extend its conference season opening streak to seven consecutive years with a win.
Maryland will look to continue in the same vein at Penn State next Saturday at 7 p.m. for its final game on this four-game road stretch.
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