Down two men looking to stall some clock, goalie Logan McNaney methodically looked for open space or an open teammate with Ohio State (4-5, B1G) employing the 10-man ride.
Instead, the sophomore launched the ball 60 yards up field over the outstretched stick of Ohio State goalie Alec Van de Bovenkamp as the ball trickled into the net, pushing Maryland’s lead to 9-3.
When the ball crossed the goal line, McNaney’s teammates swarmed him on the field, while the Terps sideline and faithful went into hysteria. That was one of Maryland’s (9-0, B1G) seven unanswered goals, the ninth consecutive game where the Terps executed at least a six-goal run, using it to build a sizable lead in the 18-8 victory.
“It was awesome and I think you could tell with our bench running on the field, everyone running on the field how much that meant to us,” Bubba Fairman said of McNaney’s goal. “That gave us a lot of momentum. We’ve practiced 10-man ride all the time, so for our goalie to go out there and score was phenomenal.”
With the win, Maryland clinched a 9-0 record for the first time since 1987 and the outright Big Ten Regular Season Title. Like he has all season, Jared Bernhardt paced the Maryland offense with seven points (6G, 1A), while Daniel Maltz also added five points (4G, 1A).
Kyle Long, Eric Malever and Logan Wisnauskas showcased their unselfishness with a combined eight assists, while Anthony DeMaio, Jack Koras, Jack Sawyer and Eric Holden also entered the scoring column. Luke Wierman was efficient at the face-off X in his first career start winning 13 of 27 overall and nine of his first 13.
Matt Rahill, Justin Sherrer, Nick Grill and John Geppert each caused two turnovers, while McNaney finished with 12 saves. For the fifth time this season, the Terps held an opponent to under 10 goals.
Despite the lopsided final score, both teams exchanged a pair of goals in the tightly contested first quarter. Wisnauskas scored 27 seconds into the contest making Ohio State pay for the 10-man ride, while the Buckeyes later bounced back with a pair of goals from attackman Jackson Reid and midfielder Johnny Wiseman.
However, after that goal Maryland didn’t score for the 12:28 struggling with some uncharacteristic turnovers, plus some unfortunate bounces hitting the post three times.
Koras ended the drought with a finish on the doorstep on the feed from Wisnauskas, giving Maryland some momentum entering the second quarter.
Building on its play from the latter stages of the first quarter the Terps struck first in the second quarter with back-to-back goals. DeMaio started the scoring with an absolute scorcher from the right alley, while Maltz added another 46 seconds later as he was all alone on the doorstep.
Ohio State answered with a Connor Cmiel goal, but then Bernhardt took over the final five minutes of the first half.
He scored a trio of goals in a 2:13 span, two on feeds from Malever and the third showcasing supreme individual effort for a tough finish on a jump shot. Bernhardt’s three goals were part of the Terps five-goal run to close out the first half, where they outscored the Buckeyes 6-1 in the second quarter.
“When we are moving and the ball is popping and we’re spinning the ball, we’re really good,” head coach John Tillman said. “We just have such an unselfish group, that it makes it a lot harder to defend and it moves the defense. I think we settled in and started moving the ball and good things happened.”
Leading by five goals at the break, Maryland continued to build on its advantage in the early stages of the third quarter. McNaney’s aforementioned goal only energized the Terps further as Maltz and DeMaio followed that with a pair of goals, pushing Maryland’s scoring run even further.
“When we have practice we practice the clear and the ride a lot,” McNaney said. “I think just doing it in practice allows you to go out and do it in a game. Sometimes after practice guys will have a little competition shoot it from the end of the field trying to get in. So I think some of those things give us more confidence when we’re shooting it.”
Tre Leclaire halted the run with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter, putting the Buckeyes on the board after a 13:49 scoring drought. Yet, two more goals from Bernhardt prevented Ohio State from trimming the deficit any further, as Maryland held a commanding eight-goal lead after three quarters.
Maltz opened the scoring in the fourth quarter pushing Maryland’s lead to nine. Shortly after, Ohio State mounted its response with a pair of goals, from Leclaire and Wiseman. However, that seven-goal deficit was the closest the Buckeyes came as Maryland’s offense continued to click as the fourth quarter progressed.
Sawyer and Holden scored their first goals of the season, pushing Maryland’s lead to double digits on a day where the Terps thoroughly dominated for the final two and a half quarters.
“I’m just certainly happy for our guys and I’m proud of them for what they’ve done,” Tillman said. “It was very much a team win. Just having that many fans in the crowd it felt like old times.”