Through one quarter, in a game between two of the highest-scoring teams in the nation, the defense was the biggest factor. Michigan played a tight and physical style of defense that forced the Terrapins to take inaccurate shots that sailed wide of the net more often than not. On the shots that were on target Shane Carr, who leads the Big Ten in save percentage, was able to come up big for his team with two strong saves within the first five minutes to keep the Terps off the board. Carr struggled after the first intermission allowing two goals within 30 seconds of each other twice in the second frame and as the second quarter carried on, the Terrapins continued to expand their lead over the maize and blue. Maryland started to have an easier and easier time getting players open and in all alone against Shane Carr. Too often the Michigan defense allowed players near the crease to have all the time and space they needed to make a move that Carr bit on and lob the ball over the goalie to dent the twine.
Michigan was able to take advantage of both of the man-up opportunities in the first half. With one less defender for the Terrapins, their style of defense faltered. There was always an open pass for the attackers to make across the crease and with quick and snappy ball movement, the Wolverines were able to make the most of the Terrapins’ few lapses in discipline.
Coming back to start the second half, Maryland looked more like the unanimous #1 team that they’ve shown themselves to be during the last 7 weeks where they’ve sat atop the polls. Two goals by John Geppert within the first 30 seconds of the half pulled Maryland up 11-5 over the Wolverines and three minutes later Logan Wisnauskas, the leading scorer for the Terrapins this season, completed his hat trick which is his 6th of the season. After today, Wisnauskas extends his goal streak to 14 games going all the way back to last season with Michigan being the last team to keep him off the goal sheet in the Big Ten Tournament first round. Despite the Wolverines keeping the game close in the first half, Maryland ran away with it in the third and fourth frames.
It seemed that whenever the Wolverines were able to get some momentum going, the Terrapins would come right back and force the Wolverines on their heels. For a team like the Wolverines that thrive on dictating the flow of the game and having their goalie make the stops when they need to, being forced to make a comeback as time slowly elapsed and put more pressure on every shot in addition to Shane Carr’s worst game of the season was an equation that spelled trouble for the home team.
The bright spot for the Wolverines in this game was Ryan Cohen. Cohen tallied four goals and an assist including the Wolverine’s first of the game, a beautiful goal in tight on the right post as the shot clock expired. Cohen, just a freshman, has been putting in the work to make himself better and better week on week and is quickly becoming an integral part of the Michigan starting trio of forwards. When asked post-game about Cohen’s practice habits and his improvement, coach Kevin Conry said that Cohen is a “low-key kid, and getting him to open up more and talk” and grow his relationships with the coaches and his teammates has helped improve his game on the field. In addition, the team as a whole has no quit in them. Even down by nine with 5:45 left, the Wolverines kept playing hard physical defense and worked for every shot they wanted to take. It led to a beautiful goal scored by Gavin Legg (who had himself a solid defensive day in front of his own net) that he shot from in close while being knocked down and drawing a penalty.
All pictures taken by WCBN staff