Terps Punch Ticket to Championship Weekend After Defeating Cavaliers 18-9

Death, taxes, and Maryland making it to Championship Weekend. The Terps were able to prove that March wasn’t a fluke as they played a complete 60 minutes and took care of Virginia 18-9. While the had gotten the best of the Cavs during the regular season, this is the first time that Maryland has beaten their former ACC rival in the postseason since the 2005 ACC tournament.

For a team that is used to striking early, this was a relatively slow start for the #1 team. Griffin Shultz started the scoring almost 4 minutes in to give the two-time defending champs a 1-0 lead. That was the only lead that Virginia had all day, and from there it was all Maryland.

After Schultz’s goal, it was the Anthony DeMaio show in the first quarter. The only player who was on the 2017 National Championship team made his presence known early, as he recorded the first quarter hat trick. His first came at the 7:39 mark when he took advantage of the Virginia offensive player who was stuck on defense and buried it past Nunes. His next two were nearly identical goals from the right wing off feeds from Wisnauskas and Kyle Long. Sandwiched between DeMaio’s second and third goals was Donville’s first of two goals on the day.

Much like the first, Virginia opened the scoring the start the second frame, this time from Jeff Connor to make it 4-2. And again like the first, the Terps dominated the rest of the quarter. Goals by Daniel Maltz, Donville, Malever, Long and Owen Murphy gave Maryland a 9-4 lead after 30 minutes.

If the first quarter was the DeMaio show, the rest of the game was the Murphy and Wierman show. Murphy’s goal in the second quarter was his first of four on the day. He was firing rockets past Nunes all afternoon and showed why Tillman brought him to College Park. Murphy’s play this season has been reminiscent of Wisnauskas when he first got to Maryland from Syracuse. While he may not be as big as Groot, he has been playing the same role that Wisnauskas had when Bernhardt was running the offense. With the other weapons this offense, he can take advantage of the attention that everyone else gets.

One reason for Murphy’s big outing was the play of Luke Wierman. I mentioned in the preview that I thought that the matchup between Wierman and Petey LaSalla would be much closer than than the game in DC, and even hinted at the fact that I believed Gavin Tygh would have to play a bigger role. Well, I was certainly wrong. After LaSalla won the first few, Wierman dominated the rest of the way, winning 20 of 29 against the combination of LaSalla and Braun. He has been a man on a mission all season and his play is a huge reason why Maryland has gotten to this point, and a big reason why they will be lifting a trophy on Memorial Day.

Another star of the game was defenseman Ajax Zappitello. If you would have told me that Connor Shellenberger would be held without a POINT before the game, I would have laughed at you. But that exactly what happened. Zappitello got the assignment of covering Shellenberger, and he did that and some. Before the season, many assumed that Zappitello would be the 4th defenseman, but with Owen Prybylski injured to being the year, he began the year in the starting lineup and never gave it back. Even with Brett Makar and Matt Rahill off to the PLL after this season, the defense is in great hands with him as your number one.

Up next are the #5 Princeton Tigers, who Maryland beat earlier this season 15-10 in College Park. Princeton, one of the blue-blood programs who have won 6 National Championships, are playing on Memorial Day Weekend for the first time since 2004 and are looking for their first title since 2001. The two will play the late game on Saturday at 2:30pm. The other two teams to make it to Championship Weekend are two teams also from the Big Ten and Ivy League in#6 Rutgers and #7 Cornell.