Johns Hopkins won its fourth consecutive game and looked like a postseason threat last night, as the Blue Jays startled Maryland early with four unanswered goals, dominated the Terrapins all night in the faceoff circle, and gave the Terps defense its worst beating of the season with a 20-11 pounding, before 5,395 at Homewood Field.
The No. 8 Blue Jays (5-3), who have put their worst start in 34 years behind them, put together their most impressive performance of the year.
Three Blue Jays, midfielder Rob Frattarola and attackmen Dan Denihan and Adam Doneger, scored four goals apiece to dismantle the No. 7 Terps. Maryland fell to 7-3 and will take on Duke Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals.
Frattarola, who made his first start of the season a week ago -- and the first hat trick of his career against Ohio State -- sparked Hopkins with three of his goals in the first half.
Denihan wore down freshman defenseman Michael Howley to score four goals and add two assists, with three goals and his assists coming in the second half. And Doneger, a freshman, has scored at least two goals in every game since joining the lineup against Virginia on March 25.
"We're happy to play our best game of the season against a very good Maryland team. Today was the first day where the players and coaches felt like we put in a full day," said Hopkins coach John Haus. "We had a fabulous week of practice, and we played with a lot of intensity and emotion that we haven't displayed all year."
Starting with a 4-0, game-opening run that stunned Maryland goalkeeper Pat McGinnis in the game's first five minutes, the Blue Jays were off and running. Only a career-high five-point effort from midfielder Chris Malone (four goals) kept the Terps within striking distance early. Maryland, which never led, crept to within 8-6 at the half and trailed 11-9 late in the third quarter.
But Maryland's defense, which has ranked among the nation's best all year, looked sleepy against the inspired Blue Jays.
Hopkins outshot the Terps 55-38 and torched them with a 7-2 finish in the fourth quarter. They dominated Maryland in ground balls (49-27), failed on one of 22 clears and enjoyed another superb game from faceoff specialist Eric Wedin.
Hopkins was able to blunt any serious Maryland run by winning 23 of 35 faceoffs.
"It was uncharacteristic of us," Maryland coach Dick Edell said of his defense. "We've very experienced back there. We only have one freshman. We just had a bad night. [The Blue Jays] were very patient, and they possessed the ball."
Maryland had not surrendered 20 or more goals to Hopkins since 1977 in a rivalry that was renewed for the 96th time last night.
"I wouldn't blame our defense," said McGinnis, who was out-played decisively by Hopkins' Brian Carcaterra (18 saves). "They moved the ball around so fast, it was hard to keep up with them. They were attacking the ball. We came out a little flat, and you can't do that against Hopkins, at Hopkins."
The Hopkins defense, which seemingly was hurt by the loss of Brendan Shook -- he suffered a concussion in practice last week and was held out in favor of freshman Micheal Peyser -- never let the Terps get closer than two goals.
After second-team attackman Matt Urlock scored his third goal of the game to cut the Hopkins lead to 11-9 with 4: 34 left in the third quarter, the Blue Jays' offense went into overdrive behind Denihan, who had been relatively quiet in the first half.
Denihan made it 12-9 just 50 seconds later, starting a 5-0 burst that knocked out the Terps five minutes into the final quarter.
Denihan finished that run with two straight goals, first by beating Howley with a dodge, then by converting a feed from Ryan Quinn with 10: 32 to go in the game. After that goal, Edell benched McGinnis in favor of Dan McCormick.
With Wedin winning 13 of 19 faceoffs in the second half, the Terps were too busy chasing the Blue Jays on defense to mount a fourth-quarter run.