EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Eleventh-ranked North Carolina outscored top-ranked Johns Hopkins 5-2 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 13-9 victory in the third game of the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at Met Life Stadium Sunday night. The Tar Heels led by four at the half, withstood a rally the Blue Jays in the third quarter and then pulled away in the fourth to improve to 8-3 on the year. Hopkins suffered its first loss of the season and slips to 8-1.
The Blue Jays trailed just 8-7 entering the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as four, but could never pull even and the Tar Heels won the decisive final period.
An extra-man goal by Nicky Galasso just 39 seconds into the final period ignited the game-deciding run. A Chad Tutton strike 81 seconds later made it 10-7 and that three-goal lead held for more than four minutes.
Senior Chris Boland, playing in his first game since the season opener, drew the Blue Jays to within 10-8 with an extra-man goal at the 7:42 mark, but freshman Jimmy Bitter blew home an underhanded low-to-high blast just over a minute later and the `Heels added goals by Thomas Wood and Duncan Hutchins in a two-minute span a short time later to push the lead out to 13-8. Rob Guida’s second goal of the game with 1:31 remaining accounted for the final scoring.
Three times the Tar Heels took the lead in the first quarter, only to have the Blue Jays answer each time. The Tar Heels led 4-2 late in the period after back-to-back goals in a six-second span by Bitter and sophomore R.G. Keenan, but the Blue Jays answered with a Boland goal off a nice feed to the slot from freshman Wells Stanwick and an extra-man goal by Guida in the final 98 seconds to make it 4-4 at the end of the opening quarter.
The fourth-quarter run didn’t look like it would be necessary at halftime as Carolina took control in the second quarter by outscoring the Blue Jays, 4-0. An extra-man goal by junior Marcus Holman, who made a nice cut to the goal and quick-sticked home a pass from Galasso, jump-started the second-quarter spree. Back-to-back goals in a 60-second span – a tough-angle shot from freshman Joey Sankey and another strike by Holman off a restart – pushed the lead to 7-4 midway through the period and Wood capped the four-goal second period for UNC with an extra-man goal with 4:31 remaining to account for an 8-4 halftime score.
Johns Hopkins jumped back in the game by scoring three straight goals in the third period while holding the Tar Heels scoreless for the entire period.
An extra-man strike by Brandon Benn just under two minutes into the quarter made it 8-5 and the three-goal lead held for more than six minutes before junior Lee Coppersmith made it a two-goal game with an unassisted goal midway through the period. When sophomore Greg Edmonds fired home his second goal of the game a short time later, the Blue Jays had all the momentum and several chances to pull even, but a slashing call against JHU’s Michael Pellegrino with two seconds remaining in the third quarter led to Galasso’s extra-man goal that ignited the game-ending spree for North Carolina.
Bitter led the Tar Heels with three goals, while Holman (2g, 3a) and Wood (2g) also had multi-goal games for the Tar Heels. Keenan dominated on faceoffs as he won 18-of-25 and added nine ground balls and the one goal. Steven Rastivo posted 10 saves for the Heels, who held advantages in shots (49-34) and ground balls (27-15).
Boland led the way offensively for the Blue Jays with two goals and two assists, while Guida (2g) and Benn (2g) added multi-goal games as well. Stanwick totaled three assists and junior Pierce Bassett registered 12 saves for the Blue Jays, who saw their 15-game regular-season winning streak snapped with the loss.
Johns Hopkins will return to action on Thursday, April 5 when the Blue Jays host Albany at 7 pm.
#11 North Carolina (8-3) 4-4-0-5/13
#1 Johns Hopkins (8-1) 4-0-3-2/9
Goals: N: Bitter-3, Holman-2, Wood-2, Galasso, Hutchins, Sankey, Keenan, Tutton, Kilpatrick. J: Boland-2, Guida-2, Benn-2, Edmonds, Coppersmith, Palmer. Assists: N: Holman-3, Galasso, Hutchins, McBride. J: Stanwick-3, Boland-2, Edmonds. Saves: N: Rastivo-10. J: Bassett-12. Shots: N-49. J-34. EMO: N: 3-for-4. J: 3-for-4. Attendance: 25,934.