A cautionary film critique was in order as No. 1 Johns Hopkins prepared for yesterday's game against upstart Albany.
It didn't do a bit of good.
A year ago, the Blue Jays followed up an impressive season-opening win over Princeton with a lackluster effort against the Danes. Coach Dave Pietramala had his team watch a portion of that Albany game Monday, but the point wasn't made. Hopkins backed up another solid win over Princeton with another shaky effort against the Danes that evolved into a 16-7 victory at Homewood Field.
Albany coach Scott Marr was known as a gritty midfielder when he played for Hopkins from 1987 to 1990, but his team was deemed too physical by the officials, who called seemingly every infraction in the book. The Danes were called for 16 penalties.
The Blue Jays controlled all 12 faceoffs in the first half, but the visitors nonetheless led 2-0 and then 3-2 early in the second quarter.
Hopkins (2-0) went ahead 6-4 at the half, and didn't really blow it open until the last 12 minutes.
"I thought it was embarrassing, what little respect our team showed Albany in the first half," Pietramala said. "You like to hope that we would have learned our lesson last year, especially after we watched film of that game. Today we had 60 shots, and didn't convert enough. Defensively, we were selfish, and I was disappointed with the kind of goals we gave up.
"That said, give Albany credit."
Pietramala wasn't just being kind to one of his former Hopkins teammates. In its fourth year in Division I, Albany (1-1) has eight scholarships, a roster top-heavy with New Yorkers and designs on the America East Conference championship.
"They [Hopkins] get the cream of crop, but we have kids with skill," said Marr, who previously was an assistant at Maryland.
Spending its spring break in Baltimore, Albany will practice at Hopkins today and tomorrow. When the Blue Jays trudge onto snowbank-lined Homewood Field, they'll try to find the focus their extra-man unit lacked yesterday.
Despite having all six returning players on that unit, Hopkins went 3-for-16 in man-up situations, 0-for-6 in the first half. It finally connected in the first minute of the second half, when Adam Doneger had room to wind up on the right wing. That sparked a rapid four-goal run that could have been more if the Blue Jays had taken advantage of the multitude of Albany penalties.
"Our extra man hasn't been very good, and I'm not exactly sure why," Bobby Benson said. "Our unit did well last year, and we've got everyone back. On man up, a couple of missed shots and a dropped pass make a huge difference. Those mistakes are compounded."
Benson, a senior from McDonogh, matched his career high with five goals. Senior midfielder Doneger had four goals, sophomore attackman Peter LeSueur had a career-high three goals and two assists, and Benson's brother, Joe, a freshman, had two goals and one assist.
Brendan Russell led Albany with three goals.
Albany 2 2 1 2 - 7
Johns Hopkins 2 4 5 5 - 16
Goals: A-Russell 3, Solazzo, Green, J. Smith, L. Smith.; JHU-B. Benson 5, Doneger 4, LeSueur 3, J. Benson 2, Harrison, McDermott. Assists: A-Solazzo; JHU-Barrie 3, Boland 2, LeSueur 2, J. Benson, Harrison, McDermott, Harned. Saves: A-Rae 13; J-Scherr 6. A: 850.