Navy’s 9-4 loss to No. 9 Lehigh Friday night was exacerbated by the disappearance of the team’s offense, which failed to score a goal over the final 42 minutes, 2 seconds of the contest.
It was the first time that the Midshipmen had been shut out in a half since April 23 when Johns Hopkins blanked the offense en route to a 14-5 rout. In retrospect, coach Rick Sowell said the offense was stymied by its own inability to execute and a Mountain Hawks defense that ranks first in Division I after allowing an average of 5.5 goals.
“There are some things we could’ve done,” Sowell said Wednesday. “We didn’t shoot well when we did have some opportunities. In the third quarter, we turned the ball over and didn’t even give ourselves a fighting chance, and that’s when the game probably got away from us. We were turning it over, and they were cashing in on the other end. So I think it was a combination of their good defense and what we did not do. I almost feel like it was a situation where we blinked first.”
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Navy’s opponent Friday night, No. 11 Maryland, isn’t as stingy as Lehigh, but the Terps have surrendered 8.0 goals per game, which is tied for 11th in the country. Sowell knows the team doesn’t have much time to solve those issues on offense.
“Maryland has a pretty strong defense as well,” he said. “We certainly feel like our offense is capable. We’re going to have to find other ways to score. In the Lehigh game, we did get an extra-man goal and we did get a goal off the faceoff. We were trying to find those opportunities and take advantage of those opportunities last Friday, but they just didn’t present themselves. … Just as we’ve done all year long, I’m confident that we will continue to score in those situations. But we’ll have our hands full against Maryland’s defense Friday night. But I’d like to hope that we’re going to execute a little better than we did last Friday, and hopefully that will be the case.”