By: Cody Wilcox
Maryland led 10-8 as the Richmond Spiders began to gain some momentum from their attackman Ryan Lanchbury, who had just scored his fourth goal of the day with 4:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Immediately after, face-off specialist Austin Henningsen, who started the game in the dot for the Terps and not yet lost a faceoff, came back into the game to replace second-half starter Justin Shockey, who had gone 5-8 on the day.
The Terps had been successful with Henningsen in the first half as they were able to score eight goals and enter the locker room with an 8-3 lead. But Henningsen’s final two faceoffs in the fourth quarter were the key as the Terps were able to escape a five-goal quarter from the Spiders and won 10-9.
“The hard part is if a guy is 14-14 or 13-13 in the first half and you lose one it seems as if its a downgrade,” head coach John Tillman said about the fourth quarter face-off rotation. “Sometimes face-offs are tricky that way. Like [Shockey] was still 5-8, but the fact that [Henningsen] didn’t lose one kind of changes your perceptions a little bit.”
The matchup between the Terps and the Spiders marks the first-ever meeting between the two programs since Richmond became a Division I program in 2014, and the first game for the Spiders this season.
Richmond finished 11-6 in 2018, but constantly struggled with faceoffs as they allowed their opponents to win an average of 57.9 percent of the time.
But entering the game, Tillman understood that the dot was an area that Shockey and Henningsen needed to win.
“We really felt that special team wise, that was an area that we really wanted to see if we could win those battles,” Tillman said. “But we hope that with our two-headed monster there that we could do well. And we just kind of looked at the numbers and felt like there was potential for an advantage. And we needed every single one of them today.”
Both Henningsen and Shockey contributed to the Terps 20-3 face-offadvantage as Shockey went 5-8 and Henningsen remained a perfect 15-for-15.
Attackman Jared Bernhardt started the scoring off for the Terps as Bubba Fairman fed him the ball for a score 49 seconds into the game. With the assistance of Henningsen, Bernhardt would score two more times in the first quarter for his tenth career hat trick as Maryland jumped out to a 4-2 lead over Richmond.
“Having all those extra possessions– especially early on– just to kind of get the offense rolling is so detrimental to the team,” Fairman said, who finished with two goals and one assist. “It’s amazing to just have the flow and they rhythm coming from [Henningsen], and it gives us so many more opportunities.”
Maryland entered the fourth quarter with an 8-3 lead over the Spiders. However, the fourth quarter belonged to Richmond as they went on to score five unanswered goals, including four from Lanchbury in a ten-minute span.
The Terps, contrast to their productive first-half offense, were unable to score a goal on Jack Rusbuldt and the Spiders. Both Rusbult and Maryland goalie Danny Dolan would finish with 11 saves.
Bernhardt tied his career-high of five goals in the first half, four of which would come off his ability to move without the ball. But Bernhardt would go scoreless in the second half.
“I just felt like I could pay some x-games with that guy and kind of get him moving. He was kind of watching the ball a lot so i felt like that would kind of be my strength,” Bernhardt said. “In the second half, I obviously didn’t do that as much. I think i needed to do that a little more. I think we were a little bit hesitant.”
Although Maryland’s six-point lead was dwindled down to one in the fourth quarter, Tillman thinks his team learned a lot from this early-season win.
“We had some breakdowns– to be honest we had some breakdowns early in the game. We tried, as we went through the game, to try to talk about things,” Tillman said. “You look at what they did, they gave us problems on the perimeter. We didn’t do a great job at some of our approaches. Guys were getting to places we didn’t want them to get to.
…Just stuff that is correctable but we just have to learn and grow from it.”