Johns Hopkins' John Ranagan celebrates after scoring… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
In what some had pegged as a potential "trap" game for Johns Hopkins, it was the host Blue Jays on Friday who fought through the raindrops to quickly bury Albany in a hole from which it couldn't escape.
Coming off consecutive wins over top 5 powers Virginia and North Carolina, and with a showdown at Maryland looming next weekend, No. 4 Hopkins dominated the inconsistent Great Danes throughout the first half, building a six-goal lead before hanging on for an 11-6 win at Homewood Field.
Leading 9-6, Hopkins ended Albany's second-half run and sealed the win on consecutive unassisted goals by Phil Castronova and John Ranagan in the final 5:15.
"This was a good win for us," Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said. "I thought our kids showed a lot of maturity early in the game. They came out excited to play. We got off to a good start, and we had a lot of opportunities."
The win improved Hopkins to 8-2, its best record after 10 games since 2005, and — perhaps more importantly — insured a winning season following last year's first sub-.500 campaign since 1971.
Senior Matt Dolente won 16 of 20 faceoffs for Hopkins, which got two goals each from Ranagan, Chris Boland and Kyle Wharton.
The Blue Jays held Albany without a shot for the first 8:57, building a 4-0 lead that they extended to 7-1 following two goals within 14 seconds midway through the second quarter by midfielder Lee Coppersmith and attackman Wharton.
Hopkins outshot Albany, 24-8, in the first 30 minutes. .
"It was really important [to get off to a good start]," Ranagan said. "The ball was moving around pretty well and we got a lot of opportunities. We've just got to make sure we can play for the full 60 minutes next time."
After a lethargic first half, the Great Danes (4-6) emerged from halftime with renewed energy. Down 8-2, they scored four of the next five goals, pulling to within three on Mike Thompson's extra-man effort 13 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Joe Resetarits led Albany with three goals.
"I thought we were very casual in the second half," Pietramala said. "I thought we turned the ball over in the third quarter and threw some really lazy passes. We made things a little bit more challenging. … Hopefully this will wake us up a little bit."
The Blue Jays improved to 9-1 against Albany, which has lost five of six overall following a 3-1 start.