Third-stringer helps Towson beat Mount St. Mary's, 10-8

Ian Mills comes off the bench to win key faceoffs for Tigers

March 03, 2012|By Rich Scherr, Special to The Baltimore Sun

On a day when Towson desperately needed someone to step up, coach Shawn Nadelen didn't hesitate to reach down into the bowels of his depth chart.

With both of the Tigers' top face-off specialists struggling against Mount St. Mary's, Nadelen turned to third-stringer Ian Mills, who hadn't appeared in either of Towson's first three games. The junior came up huge down the stretch, winning four of five face-offs in the fourth quarter, as the host Tigers rallied to score the game's final three goals in a 10-8 win.

"We talked [Friday] about how he didn't get in against Loyola [last weekend] when we were getting pushed around pretty good at the face-off X," the first-year coach said. "I knew the mistake I made, and I didn't want to make it again."

"I was confident in my ability to go out there," Mills said. "We have three very good faceoff guys on this team, and it just could have been anyone's day today."

The win was critical for Towson (2-2), which entered its home opener coming off consecutive losses to Johns Hopkins and Loyola. The Tigers now have won six straight in the series and haven't lost to Mount St. Mary's (1-2) since a forfeit in 1975.

For much of the second half, it appeared that streak was in jeopardy.

Leading, 7-4, Towson — which struggled all day with failed clears and turnovers — went dry on offense, going the next 19:59 without a goal. Mount St. Mary's, meanwhile, scored four straight, including a pair by midfielder Bryant Schmidt, who finished with a game-high four goals.

When attackman Andrew Scalley (Archbishop Spalding) drove from behind the goal to score with 9:03 left, the Mountaineers had an 8-7 lead.

But once Mills consistently began winning faceoffs, Towson re-established control. Matt Lamon (St. Mary's), Matt Hughes and Thomas DeNapoli each scored in the final 7:33 to give the Tigers the win.

"We knew they were going to fly around and pressure us all over the field," Towson defender John Kenyon said. "It was just us making dumb mistakes that we shouldn't have made, and we had to just buckle down toward the end."

Each team struggled during the first half with unforced turnovers and sloppy play, but Towson took advantage of some early penalties to jump out to a 3-1 lead.

After falling behind 1-0, the Tigers scored three straight goals, including extra-man conversions by attackman Sean Maguire (Calvert Hall), following a slash by the Mountaineers' Shane Pierce, and DeNapoli, following a push by Sean Brogan.

On the verge of getting blown out, the Mountaineers stormed back, thanks in large part to the play of faceoff man Jon Marsalese. The junior won all six of his faceoffs in the second quarter, leading to consecutive goals by Bryant Schmidt, Brett Schmidt and Scalley in a span of 1:09 to put the Mountaineers up, 4-3.

"I think we did some nice things throughout the game, but I also think we did some things that really hurt us, especially on clears," Mount coach Tom Gravane said. "At times we were a little bit overanxious, not making the right looks."

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