BALTIMORE, MD – Junior defenseman Doug Eich scored his second goal of the season with 2:01 remaining to break the sixth and final tie of the game and lift the 20th-ranked Albany men’s lacrosse team to a 10-9 win over 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field Friday night. The win is the third straight for the Great Danes, who improve to 7-3, while Hopkins dropped its second straight and slips to 6-4.
Albany held a pair of two-goal leads in the fourth quarter, only to have the Blue Jays fight back and tie the game at 9-9 on consecutive goals by Wells Stanwick and Brandon Benn less then two minutes apart midway through the period. Johns Hopkins then had a golden opportunity to take the lead as Ryan Feuerstein was called for pushing with 2:36 remaining to give the Blue Jays their fifth extra-man opportunity of the game.
As it had all night, the Albany defense stood firm and freshman goalie Blaze Riorden saved a Ryan Brown shot late in the man-up situation and jump-started a transition play by quickly firing the ball to Eich on the run at the top of the box. Eich worked his way into the attacking third and when no slide came he drove to the goal and beat Blue Jay goalie Pierce Bassett from seven yards out to give Albany the one-goal lead.
The Blue Jays had one final possession, but a John Ranagan shot sailed high with 14 seconds remaining and Brown’s last-ditch attempt in the closing seconds was blocked and Albany scooped up the ground ball as the final two seconds ticked off the clock.
The frantic finish seemed appropriate in a game that may not have produced as many goals as some thought it might, but still generated 74 shots, 36 combined goalie saves, 24 turnovers and a combined showing of 1-of-10 in extra-man situations.
Both teams took turns controlling the game with swings in momentum. The Blue Jays opened the game by scoring four of the first six goals with Stanwick starting and ending a game-opening 4-2 run with his 19th and 20th goals of the season.
Albany, which entered the game with the nation’s top scoring offense at just over 15 goals per game, flashed its quick-strike ability early in the second quarter when Jimmy Haugen and Ty Thompson scored just 74 seconds apart to draw the Danes even. The deadlock lasted until late in the second quarter when senior John Greeley gave the Blue Jays a 5-4 lead when he spun inside his defender on the wing and bounced home an eight-yarder.
Ty Thompson’s goal early in the second quarter was the last goal the Danes would score for exactly 24 minutes, but Greeley’s strike was the only goal the Blue Jays would muster during the period and it took Albany less than a minute to grab the lead late in the third quarter as Feuerstein took a pass from behind the goal and worked his way free in front to knot the game at 5-5 and Will Fuller struck 49 seconds later to give Albany a 6-5 lead.
That lead held until Holden Cattoni scored from in tight for JHU just 66 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Derrick Eccles scooped up a loose ball in front and shoveled one home just over a minute later and Miles Thompson added an unassisted goal three minutes after that to give Albany an 8-6 lead.
Stanwick’s third of the game a short time later was answered in just nine seconds by Ty Thompson to make it 9-7 with just over eight minutes on the clock. The back-to-back goals by Stanwick and Benn came within the next three minutes, setting the stage for Eich’s game-winner that lifted Albany to its second all-time win against the Blue Jays.
While the game featured two of the top four scoring offenses in the nation, the two stars of the game were Riorden and Bassett. Riorden punched up a career-high 20 saves, including 12 in the second and third quarters combined when he held the Blue Jays to just one goal. Bassett nearly matched his counterpart with 15 saves, including 11 in the second half.
Miles Thompson led the Danes with three goals and two assists, while Ty Thompson (2g) and Haugen (1g, 1a) added multi-point games for for Albany.
Stanwick totaled four goals and one assist for the Blue Jays and senior Mike Poppleton won 14-of-23 faceoffs and grabbed a game-high eight ground balls, but no other JHU player had more than one point. JHU held decided advantages in shots (44-30) and ground balls (34-25), but Riorden’s efforts kept Albany in the game and Eich’s game-winner provided the difference.
The loss overshadowed a solid effort by Johns Hopkins senior Tucker Durkin, who held Lyle Thompson, the nation’s leading scorer at better than seven points per game, scoreless.
Johns Hopkins hits the road next week to renew the greatest rivalry in college lacrosse as the Blue Jays travel to College Park to take on top-ranked Maryland. Game time at Byrd Stadium next Saturday is set for 3 pm.
#20 Albany (7-3) 2-2-2-4/10
#10 Johns Hopkins (6-4) 4-1-0-4/9
Goals: A: M. Thompson-3, T. Thompson-2, Haugen, Fuller, Feuerstein, Eccles, Eich. J: Stanwick-4, Sanders, Palmer, Benn, Cattoni, Greeley. Assists: A: M. Thompson-2, Cox, Garziano, Haugen. J: Coppersmith, Stanwick. Saves: A: Riorden-20, Huber-1. J: Bassett-15. Shots: A-30. J-44. EMO: A: 1-for-5. J: 0-for-5. Attendance: 1,525.