The Terps stormed into Piscataway, NJ. on Sunday, spoiling Rutgers’ senior night and reclaiming the top spot in the Big Ten conference, defeating the Scarlet Knights, 11-8.
Maryland has now played Rutgers 12 times since their merger into the Big Ten, and they’ve won all 12. But, the Scarlet Knights had a streak of their own, riding a 16-game home winning streak into the contest including 7-0 on the season.
After a come-from-behind victory in Columbus last week against No. 18 Ohio State, the Terps looked to beat their second straight ranked Big Ten opponent on the road after falling to then-unranked Michigan on April 1st.
Following a stretch of shaky starts for John Tillman and the Terrapins, Braden Erska led the way with three assists through the first 15 minutes to get out to an early lead, and Maryland never looked back.
Jack Koras’ second of the day helped the Terps jump out to a 5-0 lead just 41 seconds into the second frame, but a 3-1 run for Rutgers within the next four minutes tightened the lead. Eric Spanos’ solo goal weathered the storm for Maryland, marking his seventh straight game with a point.
Zach Whittier and Daniel Maltz (two goals apiece in the first half) scored two more with under two minutes in the half to make it 8-3, but Shane Knobloch scored with 11 seconds remaining to cut the gap to four for Rutgers heading into the locker room.
“Our offense had a great first half,” said freshman goalie Brian Ruppel. “They played a great game.”
After three third quarter goals from the Terps, including one from Daniel Kelly who now has a goal in all 11 games this season, Maryland ended the third in complete control, up 11-5.
Three unanswered goals from Rutgers in the fourth put some pressure on the visitors, but it was too little, too late for the Scarlet Knights as Maryland snapped the longest home winning streak in the country, topping Rutgers 11-8.
“We had a plan to play a full 60-minute game. We were locked in all week,” said Ruppel. “Our defense held them down, did our part. It was a great team win all around.”
Koras, Maltz, Spanos and Whittier all ended with two goals, while Erksa topped the scorecard with four points to cap off a successful road trip for the Terps.
Maryland will head home to face Johns Hopkins next Saturday night. A win will give the Terps the Big Ten regular season trophy and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.