A few thoughts in the wake of Maryland’s 12-8 victory at Mount St. Mary’s on Wednesday …
1. Jesse Bernhardt was the difference-maker. The junior long pole scored a goal after scooping up a groundball on a faceoff, collected a hockey assist on another score off a goal and generally made himself a nuisance to Mount St. Mary’s throughout the evening.
In other words, just another day in the season for Maryland.
“Jesse’s an all-star,” attackman Joe Cummings said. “I think he’s the best long pole in the country, and I can say that with full confidence. His relentlessness on defense, his ability to pick up groundballs and his ability to play offense – Jesse Bernhardt represents what it means to be a Terp. He played huge for us tonight.”
(The guy most capable of making a counterargument for best long pole? Probably Duke’s C.J. Costabile. He and Bernhardt shared the ACC’s defensive player of the year award).
2. Niko Amato continued an odd trend. The sophomore goalie didn’t stop a shot until the second quarter, giving up three scores as Mount St. Mary’s kept things tight until Maryland produced a three-goal spurt just before halftime.
It was the seventh time this year that Amato played a full quarter without making a save. What’s much more interesting is who some of those performances came against:
Q2: at Georgetown (three goals allowed)
Q1: at UMBC (one goal allowed)
Q3: at UMBC (one goal allowed)
Q4: at UMBC (five goals allowed)
Q3: Marist (one goal allowed)
Q1: Navy (three goals allowed)
Q1: at Mount St. Mary’s (three goals allowed)
Toss out the 0-for-1s, because you can’t assert a goalie isn’t playing well based on one shot. But the presence of UMBC, Navy and Mount St. Mary’s on the list – all opponents that, on paper, Maryland appeared to have a distinct advantage over – grabs some attention.
Amato has played well in some big games (he had nine saves in the fourth quarter against Duke in March) and his numbers are right in line with his solid freshman year. Wednesday isn’t a cause for alarm, but it was a curious continuation of sometimes shaky play against less talented opponents.
3. Joe Cummings hit a career milestone. The affable senior attackman collected his 100th career point on a goal late in the third quarter, becoming the 38th Terp to reach that mark.
It seems like Cummings has played an integral role throughout his career, and he has. But as a midfielder for much of the last four years, points haven’t piled up quite as quickly as they have this year. Cummings’ production has steadily grown – from 14 points as a freshman to 20 to 32 to 34 (and counting).
4. Mount St. Mary’s midfielder Bryant Schmidt was impressive. The senior had two goals and an assist for the Mountaineers, with both goals coming in the first quarter before Maryland could figure out what he was capable of pulling off. Turns out, he’s an exceptionally powerful outside shooter, and he leads the Mountaineers with 25 goals.
5. No harm, no foul. The game did nothing to damage Maryland’s postseason profile, and in the long run that’s all that really matters. The Terps probably didn’t get their regulars as much rest as they would have hoped – they’d used only 21 players fairly deep into the fourth quarter – but there shouldn’t be any long-lasting effects from Wednesday.