- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2009

Maryland defenseman Brian Farrell will miss Saturday’s Face-Off Classic game at Baltimore’s M&T; Bank Stadium against Duke with an injury to his sternum and ribs.

Coach Dave Cottle said the junior, who was initially hurt after taking a hit Feb. 14 against Air Force, had two liters of fluid drained from his lungs at the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore on Thursday and was expected to remain in the hospital until this morning as a precautionary measure.

Farrell missed practice for much of last week after X-rays revealed no fractures, then played intermittently in the Terrapins’ 13-10 loss to Georgetown last week.

But his pain increased when Maryland resumed practice this week. That prompted Cottle to send Farrell for more tests, which revealed two cracked ribs missed in the original diagnosis.

“You knew something was wrong,” Cottle said. “After he played against Georgetown and for him to get worse, that’s when it was pretty alarming.”

Cottle said as long as there is no sign of infection in his chest, an optimistic return time for Farrell is two weeks. He said Farrell was feeling better since entering the hospital.

“You’ve got to credit Brian’s toughness,” Cottle said. “The people at Shock Trauma said not many people could walk in with that injury. He must be a pretty tough kid.”

For now, the No. 7 Terps (2-1) must adjust to playing without one of the most offense-minded defenders in the country. Brett Schmidt is likely to move down to close defense, with Dan Halayko taking over as the top pole against the No. 12 Blue Devils (2-1).

“We have guys,” Cottle said. “It’s time for somebody to step up. They practice for this opportunity, and now it’s their turn.”

Wharton breaks out

Kyle Wharton was a complementary part for Johns Hopkins as a freshman, scoring four goals while mostly playing on the extra-man unit.

But with Kevin Huntley and Michael Doneger (and their combined 53 goals) gone, the sophomore figures to be a more vital element for the No. 3 Blue Jays (1-0).

“He’s the guy who we think is going to be able to garner a couple goals a game,” said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, whose team meets No. 11 Princeton (1-0) in the Face-Off Classic opener. “He can stretch the defense and score goals in some different ways, so I was pleased with that.”

Faceoffs worry Mids

Navy coach Richie Meade doesn’t believe an anemic faceoff showing (4-for-21) was the primary culprit in last week’s 9-8 loss at North Carolina.

Still, none of the four players who have taken a faceoff this season have won even half of their attempts for the No. 10 Midshipmen (2-1), a troublesome trend entering today’s Patriot League opener at Bucknell (0-2).

“It’s definitely a concern and it’s something we have to address,” Meade said. “It’s in the process of being addressed - like every day.”

Brendan Hamm (41.7 percent) is Navy’s most effective faceoff man, while Frankie Coppola (35.7 percent) has taken 28 of 58 draws this season. Both are used exclusively on faceoffs, and Meade is tinkering with the idea of not insisting on a specialist for the position.

“One of the things we have to get out of is our paradigm of ‘He’s a faceoff guy,’ ” Meade said. “Well, he could also be a middie that faces off. It hasn’t gone that way. Look at the guy Hopkins had last year. [Stephen Peyser] was a faceoff guy, but he’s also a middie. We have some other guys that are actually middies that have faceoff experience.”

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