No. 4 Maryland scored the final three goals of the third quarter to seize control of the game and put away a stubborn Navy team, 11-8, Friday night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy (3-8) had a 6-5 lead early in the third, but Maryland (8-1) scored three goals in the final 13:24 of the quarter, two of them on extra-man situations.
Until then, Navy seemed capable of pulling an upset and giving second-year coach Rick Sowell the kind of win that could turn around his struggling program before a crowd of nearly 7,000.
With 13:24 left in the third quarter, Maryland attackman Owen Blye scored on a shot from just on top of the crease to tie the game at 6.
Midfielder Mike Chanenchuk and attackman Billy Gribbin soon scored to push the Terps ahead 8-6. Those two goals finished a strong third quarter for Maryland, which outshot Navy 12-3 in the period.
The Midshipmen got strong goaltending from Nolan Hickey (15 saves), but once the Terps opened the fourth quarter with two straight goals, they had all but secured their 16th win against Navy in the past 21 meetings.
Navy came out with a strong zone defense in the third quarter, but Maryland adjusted.
“The zone was a different look,” Maryland midfielder John Haus said. “They really hadn't showed it all this year, so we didn't know what kind they would run. When they did, we looked to some of the seniors, got the right sets put in and we found the back of the nets in some of them.”
Haus, Chanenchuk and attackman Kevin Cooper (Archbishop Spalding) each had two goals to lead Maryland, which plays Johns Hopkins next Saturday in another big game in a crucial in-season stretch.
“We went Carolina, Virginia, Navy and Hopkins, and it happens every year for us,” Haus said of the team's schedule. “People have nicknames for it, but we don't look at all four games at once. We look at each game individually.”
It appeared that it was going to be an easy night for Maryland as the Terps outshot Navy 9-5 and jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Midfielder Jake Bernhardt scored the first goal 43 seconds into the game on a low shot, and Haus made it 2-0 on another low, bouncing shot midway through the quarter.
Midfielder Joe LoCascio pushed the lead to 3-0 after he beat defenseman Jay Christopher from the left of the goal with 6:47 left in the first quarter. Navy had two extra-man opportunities in the period but got off only one shot.
Navy, though, kept plugging away, and it simply outhustled the Terps for most of the second quarter. Attackman Tucker Huff scored on an underhand shot for Navy's first goal with 14:44 left in the first half.
Then, for the next four minutes, the Midshipmen beat Maryland in one-on-one matchups. Attackman T.J. Hanzsche beat one defenseman, Michael Ehrhardt, and then blew by another, Casey Ikeda, for a goal with 13:15 left. Attackman Sam Jones scored two straight goals in a 90-second stretch to put Navy ahead 4-3.
Navy went ahead 5-3 on a fast-break goal by Hanzsche with 8:34 left, but Maryland scored twice to tie the score at the half.