The Annapolis Panthers were down two men, and two goals, during the third quarter of last night's game at No. 9 Arundel. But a bleak situation soon became the turning point.
The 11th-ranked Panthers, trailing 4-2 with 6:40 left, killed off the simultaneous 30-second penalties by allowing just one shot, which goalkeeper Ryan Van Riper snatched out of the air. And they took control from there, scoring three times before the end of the quarter and handing host Arundel its first loss, 8-6.
Annapolis (5-3), coming off two defeats in the Al Laramore Tournament, added a couple of man-advantage goals by Ryan Sears in the fourth quarter.
"The man-down unit was great," said Van Riper (14 saves). "We did what we had to do."
Sears, Josh Morgan and Geoff Mears each scored twice for the Panthers, who were outshot, 34-30. Eric Morgan had one goal and three assists.
"Our man-down defense stepped up and was tremendous," said coach Dan Hart. "And the difference in the game was Van Riper. He had a heck of a game. Another big key was Geoff Mears. He was very poised, he did a great job on ground balls and facing off, he was all over the field."
Arundel (7-1) was led by Neil Weisshaar with two goals, and Gavin McIntire with one goal and three assists.
Brian Rentch converted a pass from Jon Brianas with 5:27 left in the third quarter to reduce the lead to 4-3. Josh Morgan then scored the tying goal when he took a feed from his twin brother, Eric, leaped and fired a shot past Tom Newberry (13 saves) with 3:32 remaining.
Annapolis went ahead for the first time, 5-4, when Mears scored off a pass from Eric Morgan with Arundel a man down.
Sears then extended the lead to 7-4 early in the fourth quarter.
"The reason we got the penalties is our offense put so much pressure on the defense by not performing," said Arundel coach Clint Gosnell.