Entering this season, the duty of taking the lion’s share of faceoffs for Towson was expected to go to junior Matt Thomas. That role has now shifted to redshirt junior Ian Mills.
In three of the team’s last four contests, Mills has won at least 11 draws, including a career-best 17 against both Stony Brook and Delaware. He won 11-of-19 faceoffs in Saturday night’s 10-9 double-overtime win against Hofstra, including four straight that enabled the Tigers to score the final four goals of regulation and send the game into overtime.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Towson has won its last four contests en route to improving to 6-3.
Mills, who sat out the entire 2010 season after tearing a ligament in his knee, has won 64.9 percent of his draws (63-of-97) this season. His prowess has been a pleasant surprise for coach Shawn Nadelen.
“I never really anticipated him being as good as he has been,” Nadelen said Monday. “I know he’s a competitor and that he’s been grinding it out to be able to get out there and be a significant faceoff guy for us. … The guys have a great deal of confidence in him. He’s got a lot of personal pride in knowing his role within the team’s success, and that’s a huge thing for our team. To have him do well lately has been great and he’s been a big contributor to our success, but he definitely struggled in the first half against Hofstra’s guy. In the second half, he was able to turn it around after the Hofstra guy got injured and wasn’t out there as much. But we need Ian and Matt Thomas to do a great job for us because with our offensive guys shooting the ball so well, that obviously takes some stress off the defense and allows us to put some numbers on the board.”
For the second consecutive game, goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage played the entire game against the Pride, finishing with 10 saves for the win. Nadelen confirmed that the junior will start Wednesday night against UMBC (3-4).
“I think Andrew had about eight saves in the first half, and we hung him out to dry a couple times with poor defense for them to get those four goals,” Nadelen said. “But he definitely kept that game tight, helping us to be down by only two goals at halftime. They could’ve had a 6-2 or 7-2 lead if Andrew hadn’t made a few of the saves that he did. So that was something that we felt like since he was playing pretty well in that first half.”