Hopkins NCAA Tournament chances are down to this game. With no chance for an Automatic Qualifier (they are independent), they need to do well enough in the season to garner an at-large-bid. Unfortunately this season has not gone the Jays’ way.
Hopkins is 8-4 with one quality win over Maryland. They have lost to Albany, UNC, Syracuse, and Princeton
Loyola is 10-3 with wins over OSU and Fairfield. They have lost to Maryland, Duke, and Denver.
Hopkins production is led by Wells Stanwick (23Goals, 21Assists), Brandon Benn (28g, 1a), and Zach Palmer (12g, 12a). In goal, Pierce Bassett is performing well with 7.89Goals Against Average, and save percentage of 59.1%.
Palmers 24 points (3rd on the team), comes with 2 games less than Stanwick and Benn due to injury. Also to note, Rob Guida just returned to play against Maryland after missing 8 weeks due to injury.
I have to point out that Stanwick’s numbers come along with the fact he has only taken 43 shots. That is a 53.5% Shooting percent and 81.4% of his shots are on goal. Compare that to Pannell from Cornell who has (29Goals on 124 shots! = 23.4%)
The man that may be the most crucial piece for Hopkins, is a guy that doesn’t receive all the accolades. Face Off man Mike Poppleton has snagged 83 Ground Balls and won 150 of 220 face offs (68.2%). Winning possessions and controlling play was crucial in their win over Maryland.
Loyola is led by Justin Ward (26g, 27a), Mike Sawyer (27g, 6a), and Nikko Pontrello (13g, 17a). In goal is Jack Runkel with 8.42 GAA, and save percentage 52.4%.
Being an LSM, I have to point out Ratliff’s numbers as well. For the year he has posted 13Goals, 4Assists (on 25shots/20on goal), 64 Ground Balls, 29 Caused Turnovers, and has won 7 of 11 face offs. I still think he lacks defense compared to other LSMs out there, but for what he brings to the team over the whole field more than makes up for it.
Loyola and Hopkins match up very nicely.
Both teams have dis-proportionate 1st and 3rd quarters. During these 2 quarters, Loyola is outscoring opponents 92-51 and Hopkins is outscoring opponents 83-47.
Hopkins has an excellent EMO package scoring on 44.6% of their opportunities, yet Loyola’s Man-down defense is one of the best as their opponents only convert 16.7% of the time.
I think Hopkins stays alive (for now) with a tough win by controlling the tempo with face off wins and a deliberate offense like they did against Maryland.