March 24, 2012

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North Carolina Edges Maryland in Fight-Marred Game

from staff reports

Freshman Jimmy Bitter had two assists as North Carolina's offense found a rhythm in the fourth quarter to build a late two-goal lead. That was before a fight in the final minute led to several penalties, and allowed Maryland to score a man-up goal with 20 seconds left to cut the lead to one. UNC's Steven Rastivo made a save with one second left to prevent overtime.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Fifteenth-ranked North Carolina edged No. 6 Maryland, 11-10, on Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field in a game that featured five ties, four lead changes, and an ugly bench-clearing incident and Maryland rally in the final minute.

The Tar Heels trailed by two early in the fourth quarter before scoring five of the next six goals and then staving off the Terps, who scored a man-up goal with 20 seconds left following an altercation with 40 seconds to go between North Carolina's Greg McBride and Maryland's Kevin Cooper that resulted in both being ejected for fighting.

Maryland also had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but Steven Rastivo stopped a Joe Cummings re-direct on the crease with one second left.

The Tar Heels improved to 7-3 on the season and 1-1 in the ACC and they have now beaten the Terps in three straight regular-season meetings. The Terrapins fell to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference.

Joey Sankey led the Tar Heels with his fourth hat trick of the season while sophomore midfielder Will Campbell scored two unassisted goals, including the score that put Carolina up for good with 6:42 to play.

Thomas Wood added a pair of goals for Carolina, Marcus Holman had a goal and three assists and Jimmy Bitter had two assists as the attack unit came through for the Tar Heels in a big way.

Billy Gribbin led the way for the Terps with three goals while Joe Cummings had two goals and two assists. Defensive midfielder Landon Carr had a goal and an assist for the Terps while attackman Owen Blye assisted on three tallies.

The game was as hard fought as the final score would indicate but the game was marred by the unfortunate incident that led to the two ejections and four major penalties between the two teams.

After a Maryland ride on McBride, he passed the ball away near midfield and was checked high to the head by Cooper. McBride lost his stick and as he rose from the turf he attempted to tackle Cooper, who in turn took McBride to the ground and punched him in the helmet before a group of North Carolina players seperated the pair.

Players from both teams spilled onto the field and had to be stopped by officials, coaches and team personnel from both sides.

Walking off the field, McBride bled from around his left eye. Both he and Cooper were ejected and Cooper was called for a three-minute unreleasable illegal body check penalty for the initial hit that sparked the incident.

Both benches were also given conduct penalties.

The Terps outshot the Tar Heels 35-31 in the game while UNC had a slight edge in ground balls at 33-26, including a 15-7 edge in the fourth quarter as the Tar Heels outscored the Terps 5-3 in the final frame. The Tar Heels committed 14 turnovers while the Terps had 12.

UNC's R.G. Keenan was a big key in the game for UNC as he won 14 off 22 face-offs and led the Tar Heels in ground balls with seven. Michael Ehrhardt led Maryland with five ground balls. Niko Amato finished with 10 saves for the Terps while Steven Rastivo had six for Carolina. Both teams cashed in on their extra-man offense opportunities as UNC scored on 3 of 6 chances and Maryland tallied of 2 of 5.

The Tar Heels bolted to a 3-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game on goals by Marcus Holman, Will Campbell and Joey Sankey, who notched his fourth hat trick of the season.

After Maryland scored twice, UNC's Sankey scored 12 seconds before halftime off a feed by Jack McBride. The Terps answered that goal with an unassisted tally by Landon Carr with one second left in the first half.

Trailing only 4-3 at the half, the Terps came out an grabbed the lead quickly as Joe Cummings scored nine seconds into the second half and then Jesse Bernhardt tallied a minute and a half later.

UNC responded with a man-up goal by Davey Emala to tie the match before Chad Tutton tipped in a pass from Marcus Holman on a delayed penalty situation with 10:34 left in the third period. With that goal Carolina regained the lead 6-5.

Maryland then ran off three goals in a row, including an extra-man goal by Billy Gribbin with 13:14 to play in the final period that had the Terps up.

Momentum shifted less than two minutes later as Sankey dipped under her defender and while falling to the ground scored past Amatowith 11:39 left. That goal came on a keep it in situation for the Heels and after the goal UNC got the benefit of a one-minute penalty against Maryland's Goran Murray for slashing.

Keenan won the ensuing face-off to Ryan Creighton and the Tar Heels got two great looks with Davey Emala hitting the pipe at 11:05 and then having his shot blocked at 10:46. Emala chased down his own ground ball and fed Holman who hit Nicky Galasso lurking on the crease for a tie score at 8-8 with 10:37 left.

Carolina got another man-up situation and Galasso outside rocket was saved by Amato put the ground ball bounced right to Thomas Wood who dunked it at 9:43 to put the Heels up with 9:43 to play.

Maryland drew even on a Drew Snider goal with 7:54 left but Will Campbell scored with 6:42 left to put the Heels up for good. It was Campbell's second goal of the game. He came into the contest with three in his career.

Carolina then extended its lead to 11-9 after John Haus committed a turnover and the ground ball was scooped up by Davey Emala. He fed ahead to Tyler Morton on the break and Thomas Wood finished the play with 2:23 left. It was Morton's first point since he scored two goals against Lehigh on February 20, 2010.

Carolina went a man-up again but Holman turned the ball over with 1:17 left. On the other end Kevin Cooper coughed it up with 53 seconds left and Jordan Smith claimed the ground ball with 48 seconds to play.

On the ensuing clear was when Cooper and McBride tangled.

The altercation actually gave the Terrapins new life. They forced a turnover by Jimmy Dunster with 32 seconds left and defenseman Goran Murray scored on the other end off an assist by Joe Cummings with 20 seconds left.

Maryland won the ensuing face-off and had a 3-on-2 fast break but Rastivo made the save with three seconds left and Jordan Smith scooped up the ground ball with one second left as the Tar Heels held on.

The Tar Heels will be back in action again next Sunday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. when they face second-ranked Johns Hopkins in the Konica Minolta Big City at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.


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