In Sunday's 13-6 victory over visiting Quinnipiac in an NCAA tournament first-round game at Maryland Stadium in College Park, senior defenseman Matt Dunn took his first penalty of the year.
With 10 minutes, 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Dunn was flagged for holding, which resulted in the top-seeded Terps having to kill off a 30-second man-down opportunity. The defense did just that. The Towson resident and Loyola Blakefield graduate acknowledged he was aware he had earned his first infraction in 14 starts this spring.
"I don't really think about it," he said. "Every once in a while, I'm kind of like, 'I haven't had a penalty yet this year.' Not that I consider myself a guy that gets a ton of penalties, but usually after playing a whole season, you're bound to get a penalty at some point."
The holding call was only the 12th penalty of his career, and he incurred just two 30-second transgressions last year. He has not been assessed a one-minute infraction since May 25, 2014 in an 11-6 loss to Notre Dame in an NCAA tournament semifinal.
Asked to explain his ability to avoid penalties, Dunn replied, "Luck. I don't know. I'm sure there's a couple calls at some point where I might have gotten somebody and the refs didn't call it. I try to just play disciplined. [Associate head coach Kevin Conry] stresses a lot of discipline when we play defense, not using our hands too much, keeping our sticks in front of us but not whacking. So I think a lot of discipline and fundamentals that our coaches teach has kind of preached that message across to all of us."
1) Quinnipiac on faceoffs. Sophomore Will Vitelli had been named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Faceoff Specialist of the Year and had won 56.5 percent of his draws (147-of-260). But he claimed just 37.5 percent (6-of-16) against Maryland freshman Austin Henningsen, who won 82.4 percent (14-of-17) and picked up a game-best seven ground balls. Terps senior midfielder Bryan Cole said Henningsen's performance factored into the offense's production.
"Going 12-for-12 in the first half, it definitely relieves a little bit of pressure on the offensive end," said Cole, who registered three goals and one assist. "Obviously, we'd like to have a better turnout having 12 extra possessions. We kind of left a lot on the table in the first half offensively, but we'll go back to the drawing board and get better. It definitely was a big boost for us."
2) Quinnipiac on offense. Senior Ryan Keenan and sophomore Brian Feldman entered the contest as two of only eight players in the program's Division I history to post 30 goals in a single season. But they were contained by Dunn and junior defenseman Mac Pons (Boys' Latin), respectively, to a single goal each. Freshman midfielder Foster Cuomo, who torched Hartford for four goals in Wednesday's 14-9 win in a play-in game, was also limited to a goal by redshirt senior long-stick midfielder Greg Danseglio. Keenan said the Bobcats couldn't find enough gaps in the Terps' defense.
"They're just a really disciplined team," he said. "We got a few early where we capitalized on a few mistakes, but they locked it down pretty well. It's a really athletic defense. We chipped away all game, but in the end, they're very disciplined, and they covered us up pretty well."
3) Quinnipiac on defense. Bobcats coach Eric Fekete conceded he was concerned about the ability of Maryland junior attackmen Matt Rambo, Colin Heacock and Dylan Maltz to dodge behind the cage and on the perimeter to open up chances on the inside. So the defense elected to pack the interior. Not a bad strategy, but when the Terps scored four of their seven first-half goals from long distance, Quinnipiac was forced to change its plan. But by then, it was too late.
"The thing that concerned us most was the inside looks that they get," Fekete said. "They do a really good job with hitting you with Rambo and Heacock and a little bit of Maltz behind with a little two-man game. And then they'll swing it up top to Cole, they'll swing it through West, and they kind of end up spreading you out a bit and then dump it inside, and we were very conscious of that. So we tried to make sure we limited that."