Showdown didn't net clear edge

April 16, 1995|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Consider the confrontation between the Johns Hopkins offense and the Maryland defense a draw. There were compliments and criticisms, but no concessions.

From the Hopkins side: "These are the two best attackmen in the country," Blue Jays coach Tony Seaman said of Terry Riordan and Brian Piccola.

In the Maryland corner: "I'll say this every time: Six-on-six, we can play with Hopkins or anyone in the country," Terps senior defenseman Dan Radebaugh said. "It was those dumb penalties. I don't know the number, but they killed us."

Both sides had valid arguments.

Besides allowing four goals on nine extra-man opportunities, the Terps' defensive unit didn't budge. Maryland held the Blue Jays to 46 shots, seven below their average, and to 16 shots in the second half.

Maryland goalkeeper Brian Dougherty played consistently all around the crease, making 15 saves. Radebaugh relentlessly refused Piccola on dodges to the goal, Paal Elfstrum blanketed Riordan in set situations and Dave LaChapelle held the Blue Jays' top feeder, Dave Marr, to one goal and two assists.

"They had some hard hitters," Riordan said. "They are the most aggressive defense I've seen this year. It took us a little by surprise out there."

There were no surprises from Hopkins. Riordan supplied five goals, including the game-winner. Piccola chipped in with five goals, three of which broke ties.

Although they never connected in their customary dominating fashion, the Blue Jays remained poised and rebounded from a sluggish start. Hopkins relied on an opportunistic attack, scoring on nearly every extra-man opportunity and failed clear by Maryland.

"I know this game was hyped up as our offense against their defense," Piccola said. "They are a talented group and came out at us fired up. We just stuck with our game plan and the shots started falling."

They did fall at the end as the Blue Jays converted on eight of their final 12 shots on goal. The offense has carried the top-ranked Blue Jays to victories over the next four teams ranked below them, winning three of them by last-second goals.

"We've played for three years, and have a good jell together," Piccola said. "We've become good friends. We know when I score a goal off a pass from Dave [Marr], I credit him with the goal."

The Terps have a different interpretation of the Blue Jays' offense.

"They really weren't different from anything we heard or read," Radebaugh said. "The other guys sell out for Riordan and Piccola to score goals. If you stop those guys, you can pretty much stop the whole offense."

No yielding here. No concessions either. And they've already started talking about a rematch in the postseason.

"They're a good team," Seaman said. "We'll see them in May."

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