The Maryland Terrapins came into Saturday’s National Semifinal game against Denver seeking their third straight trip to the National Championship game.
They knew it would be a tightly contested battle thanks to the Pioneers being led by Tewaaraton award finalist, Trevor Baptiste. The face-off specialist came in leading the nation in face-off win percentage at 75%. From the start, the Terrapins showed their resiliency by winning the first two face-offs, and did not give up the advantage until it was tied at four wins per team.
With the possession times nearly equal, Maryland’s offense got to work in the first half. Just 10 minutes into the game, Maryland held a 3-1 lead thanks to three different goal scorers. Most significantly, Matt Rambo scored his record breaking breaking goal to become Maryland’s all-time goal leader.
Both teams scored two goals in the second, giving Maryland a 5-3 lead going into halftime. The Terrapins held that lead, but fans knew what was coming.
In the second half, Denver pushed back. They mounted a steady 5-3 run throughout the third and into the the fourth quarter, tying the game at eight with just 10 minutes left. On the next possession, Connor Kelly put one top shelf, off the crossbar and in to give Maryland a one goal advantage.
The Terrapins continued pushing as the final minutes came about, looking for a dagger to send them through. Colin Heacock took matters into his own hands and beat the keeper, but as he landed, his right toe hit the crease marking. This wiped out what would have given Maryland a two goal lead with under two minutes left, and gave the ball to Denver.
The Pioneers held the ball for a chance to tie and send this game to overtime. With just 10 seconds left, Connor Den Donahue went flying in, sneaking the ball past goalkeeper Dan Morris, but he landed behind the goal in the crease, wiping out their tying goal. This allowed Maryland to run time off the clock and advance to their third title game in three seasons.
The Terrapins will face a familiar foe in the Ohio State Buckeyes, who came back from and 8-3 deficit to defeat Towson 11-10 in the earlier semifinal game. The National Championship game is scheduled for 1 P.M. on Memorial Day.