This weekend there are two games that should be exciting to watch. UNC/MD and UVA/Hopkins.
Saturday March 21 2:00pm UNC at Maryland
UNC is 7-2 with a win over #15 Navy, and losses to NotreDame and Duke
Maryland is 5-2 with a win over #8 Duke, and losses to Georgetown and UMBC.
UNC’s scoring leaders are Billy Bitter (17G,14A), Bart Wagner (20,8), and Gavin Petracca (14,12).
Goalie Grant Zimmerman has a solid save percentage of 57%.
In both losses, UNC faced hot goalies. Duke stopped 10 of 18 shots, and NotreDame stopped 16 of 23 shots). Also in both losses, UNC totaled 0 goals and 11 shots in two games during the third quarter. Over all 9 games, the 3rd quarter has been the worst statistically speaking for the Heels. Coach Breschi better make sure no players are twittering during halftime. Maybe replace their Gatorade bottles with Red Bull or something to get rid of their third quarter lulls.
The attack unit of Maryland has all three top spots on the scoring list. Catalino has 16G, 14A, Yeatman 8G, 10A, and Ryan Young rounds it out with 12G, 5A. Both goalies have a save percentage above 53%.
The Maryland midfield needs to step it up. In their first loss to Georgetown, while the whole team had turnover issues, the middies (and goalie) did the most damage. A few of these TOs happened at key points giving the momentum (if not goal) to Georgetown. In MDs second loss to UMBC, not 1 goal was scored by a midfielder. 4 great attackman can’t win every game themselves.
I think UNC’s defense and goalie have what it takes to hold the attack unit of MD to under 6 goals. The deciding factors will be if MD’s midfielders show up, and if they can seize the momentum when UNC comes out flat in the 3rd quarter (they will). I am going with UNC only by a couple.
Saturday March 21 8:00pm Virginia at Johns Hopkins
Virginia is 9-0 with wins over #2 Syracuse and #3Cornell.
Hopkins is 3-2 with wins over #7 UMBC and #6Hofstra, and losses to Princeton and Syracuse.
I have been accused of being a Hop Hater. Not true. After this game I believe they could run the table. They are a good team. Just not championship caliber this year…and they won’t win this one either. Haha.
FYI…Yes, I tend to hate on players or teams that the rest of the media hoists on a pedestal. For example, when Mikey P was at Cuse I rooted against the Orange. Last year I picked on Gvozden until he started playing better (even Hop fans have to admit he started last year SLOW). I digress…back to the game at hand…
Hopkins scoring is led by Kyle Wharton (13G, 6A), Steve Boyle (11,5), and Mike Kimmel (9,6). Hopkins has a lot of contributors on offense but no one really stands out as THE go to guy (nothing like the freak of nature Rabil…I admit I like his skills). Gvozden’s save percentage is at 52% and looked better against Syracuse last week than he did against Hofstra. Hopefully he is shaking off his slow start again and heating up for the rest of the season.
Matt Dolente was a bright spot at the Face Off X going 15 of 24. Most of these wins came later in the game as Syracuse dominated everything in the first half. Hopkins got off to a very slow start not even shooting 10 shots on goal in the first half. They will need to come out firing or they will be buried by a similar offensive machine in UVA.
UVA scoring is led by Garrett Billings (22,10), Steele Stanwick (18,11), and Danny Gladding (12,15).
UVA has the complete team at every position. Their offense always gets praised, but their defense is making a name for themselves this year.
Adam Ghitelman is always solid in net (60% save%), and leads a unit that held Towson to 2 goals…both of which came when UVA was man-down. Even strength, they held a shutout. Clausen, Kelly, Nizolek, and LSM Timms can all strip the ball away from the most gifted players.
I have to go with UVA by about 4 in this one. Their defense is on a hot streak, and their offense just keeps on rolling. Hop will get a moral victory. I think the whole team will play better, and can win outright…after they lose to UVA.