May 2, 2009
BALTIMORE - After Loyola used a remarkable 3-0 rally in the waning minutes to force extra play, Johns Hopkins midfielder Brian Christopher scored the game-winner with 3:35 remaining in double overtime to lift the sixth-ranked Blue Jays over No. 13 Loyola, 11-10, on Saturday in front of 2,732 fans at Homewood Field.
Loyola overcame a late 10-7 deficit by scoring three consecutive goals over the final 3:49, including one by Shane Koppens with just four ticks left on the clock to force overtime. A goal by midfielder Jimmy Daly trimmed the Hopkins advantage to 10-9 as he took a Koppens feed and netted his shot high with just 23 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing face-off, Hopkins controlled the draw. Taylor Ebsary, though, forced a turnover and threw an outlet pass to P.T. Ricci, who, standing deep in Hopkins territory, fired a 35-yard pass to Koppens standing in front of the Hopkins net. Koppens dodged left and sent in his shot to knot the teams at 10-10, sending the large contingent of Loyola fans who made the short trip down Charles Street into eruption.
Neither teams found the net in the first overtime. Loyola goalkeeper Jake Hagelin made two huge saves over the final minute, including one that bounced off his leg with 12 seconds left to force the double session.
Christopher, though, would net the game-winner just 1:25 into the second overtime for his fourth goal of the afternoon, handing Loyola (9-5) the loss in this regular-season finale and leaving its tournament aspirations up in the air. With an 11-10 Massachusetts overtime win over Rutgers, the Minutemen earned the ECAC automatic berth over the Greyhounds by virtue of their 8-6 win over Loyola earlier in the season.
"Obviously the committee has some challenges today, but if I have to make our case, I would point to our schedule, which is ranked third-hardest in the country," said Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey.
"You hate to rely on other teams to get you through, but our team gave it everything out there today and I'm proud of our heart and our hustle."
After the teams took a 7-7 tie into the fourth period, Hopkins quickly struck with a goal by Kyle Wharton just seven seconds off the opening face-off. Loyola threatened on its next few possessions, but another Wharton goal, his third of the game, pushed the Blue Jay advantage to two, 9-7, with 8:54 remaining.
Then, a Josh Peck putaway made the advantage three, 10-7, with 6:47 remaining. Loyola kept knocking at the door though. A shot by Collin Finnerty was blocked, and a Chris Basler attempt was sent just high at the six-minute mark. The Greyhounds finally broke through with a Jake Willcox goal, as he drove from the left alley and sent in a nice hip-shot, cutting the deficit to 10-8 less than four minutes remaining.
The Willcox goal broke a 17 minute, 17 second scoring drought from the Greyhounds dating back to a Finnerty goal with six minutes left in the third period.
Loyola had eight different players score its 10 goals, with Koppens and Willcox scoring two apiece. The Greyhounds outshot Hopkins (9-4) 47-30, and won the groundball margin, 42-39.
"I thought that we controlled the ground and got a lot of shots today, but I wish we would have had a little better selection and challenged (Hopkins goalie Mike) Gvozden more," said Toomey.
Hopkins got on the board just 2:33 into the first period on Wharton's first of the day off a failed clear attempt by Loyola.
At the nine-minute mark, the Greyhounds evened it with an Eric Lusby goal coming off a hidden-ball trick assisted by Basler. On the ensuing face-off, Michael Atkinson won the draw and drove upfield to find the net, putting Loyola up, 2-1. Atkinson started in place of John Schiavone and won 6-of-7 draws in the first period. He finished 14-of-26.
A goal by Hopkins's Mark Bryan evened the sides, but Loyola again grabbed the upper-hand on a Willcox goal with 4:25 remaining. Standing 20 yards out, Willcox took a feed from Koppens and fired a frozen rope high into the net. With just eight tics left though, Christopher scored to tie the teams at three apiece after the first period.
Christopher's second goal lifted the Blue Jays to a 4-3 advantage, but midfielder Chris Hurst, earning his first start of the season, evened the sides with 7:17 remaining. Off a feed from Daly, Hurst bounced in his shot past Gvozden.
The teams locked down defensively for the next five minutes before Hopkins' Steven Boyle scored on an unassisted wraparound to claim the 5-4 lead with 2:18 left. But Loyola had the equalizer just 36 seconds later. Off a Basler shot, Matt Langan found himself right in front of the goal, scooped up the groundball and sent in his shot high as the teams took a 5-5 tie into intermission.
The Greyhounds opened up the second period with a Koppens putaway just 2:53 in as Cooper MacDonnell drew the double-team and found Koppens in front of the frame for the easy putaway. Loyola would take a 7-5 lead with 6:08 remaining. Off a failed clear attempt by Hopkins' Matt Drenan from the right corner, Finnerty intercepted the pass and scored into the open net.
Hopkins, though, would answer with two goals from Michael Kimmel and Christopher to tie the teams at 7-7 going into the final period.
Loyola must now wait until Sunday evening at 9 p.m. for the NCAA Selection Show to see if it earns its third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. It will be broadcast live on ESPNU.