Maryland coach John Tillman was vexed as halftime arrived Friday at Byrd Stadium.
A timeout he asked for with seven seconds left in the second quarter wasn’t applied until three seconds later —- and barely before Landon Carr scored a transition goal, a double whammy for the Terrapins coach.
And then there was the scoreboard, when Maryland nursed a one-goal edge.
“I was frustrated by a lot of things at that point; 29 shots and six goals or whatever it was isn’t very good,” Tillman said.
The second half, though, was enough to erase any tension.
The No. 12 Terps rolled to a 13-6 victory as Curtis Holmes won 15 of 20 faceoffs to help Maryland dominate possession.
Joe Cummings had three goals and two assists for the Terps (6-3), who at one point won 14 consecutive faceoffs.
Little wonder Navy goalie RJ Wickham (season-high 18 saves) offered a succinct synopsis of what he (and 5,022 gathered at Byrd) saw against Maryland.
“A lot of shots,” Wickham said. “A lot of shots.”
They came from nearly everywhere for three quarters, the Terps spraying the Midshipmen’s defense with as many attempts as they could muster. Maryland took 52 shots, its most since an early-season rout of Bellarmine last year. Navy tried 18, its fewest since attempting 16 in a 2003 loss at Johns Hopkins.
The Mids survived for a half, Wickham turning in one of his best performances. But eventually, the combination of Maryland’s overwhelming possession advantage and the Terps’ ability to locate and exploit Navy’s short stick defensive midfielders took hold.
On the surface, it wasn’t much different than Navy’s setback against Lehigh a week earlier. A stout first half was followed by a waning performance after the break, though the Mids’ defense held up under more stifling pressure this time.
One notable difference: Navy actually scored in the second half, with midfielder Pat Durkin credited with a goal Maryland defenseman Michael Ehrhardt accidentally swept into his own net.
That’s hardly a highlight for the Mids, who have dropped two straight and likely need a win next week at Army to extend their season beyond an April 21 date with Johns Hopkins.
“Too many shots, we couldn’t win a faceoff,” coach Rick Sowell said. “It just seemed like we couldn’t catch a break, either. We’re hustling, scrambling, trying and it seemed like they would come up with it. You would think the odds would be with us at some point. But you have to give them credit.”
Maryland wasn’t seeking credit so much as it was a chance to move past its first back-to-back losses in two years.
The Terps ended this skid the same way they finished off their last one, with a defeat of the struggling Mids.
It was a respite for an evening. A visit to Johns Hopkins is eight days away, and Maryland snagged a victory before moving on to another in-state rival.
And that was more than enough to alleviate frustration about any facet of Friday’s performance.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a relief,” long pole Jesse Bernhardt said. “It’s been a few weeks since we won. I don’t think last year we lost consecutive games at all. It’s a little different atmosphere, but we knew those are good teams and it’s [about] the next game.”
—- Patrick Stevens