February 9, 2014

Benn's Strike Gives Hopkins 10-9 Thriller over Ohio State

by Sean Burns | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Wells Stanwick led the Blue Jays with a goal and five assists, helping them jump to a 8-5 lead after three quarters before Ohio State rallied to send the game to OT. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

Highlight Video via Johns Hopkins All-Access

BALTIMORE - It took just shy of 10 minutes of extra lacrosse, but Brandon Benn saw his shot and made it count a minute into the third overtime, handing Johns Hopkins a 10-9 win over Ohio State in the 2014 opener for both teams on Sunday at a chilly Homewood Field.

After the future Big Ten foes played through two four-minute extra periods without anybody hitting paydirt, Benn scored his second tally of the game at 1:59 – taking a jab step to get some room for his hands and hitting the game-winner from the left wing to set off the celebration for the Blue Jays.

"I didn't shoot the ball well today, but I didn't think about it [before letting the game-winner fly]," Benn said. "I just decided to dodge the guy... and it was a good result."

Benn's winner came after both teams had chances to win in OT but couldn't get the job done. Ohio State even had a man-up situation spanning the end of the second extra frame and the start of the third, but lost that possession on a turnover and Benn made it count.

The much ballyhooed 'new' Blue Jays offense didn't disappoint in its season opener, with Wells Stanwick showing why he's on people's minds as a Tewaaraton candidate with a goal and five assists. After both teams looked a bit sluggish in a first half that closed with a 2-2 score, the Jays scored six in the third quarter and led 8-5 headed into the fourth.

"We were getting good chances in the first half, we just weren't putting the ball in the back of the net," said Stanwick, who matched a career high with his assist total. "The second half, we just did a better job of putting it in places where [Ohio State goalie Greg Dutton] had to make a save instead of shooting high or right at him."

Eight players scored goals for Johns Hopkins, with only Ryan Brown joining Benn with more than one. Benn and Brown also had an assist each.

"No individual won this game," was how Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala put it afterwards. "I see all three attackmen with goals... more people involved than normally with our offense. And defensively, you could pick any on guy at different times that came up with a big play. Frankly, I think this is very much a team win and that's how this group is going to be successful."

The late heroics spoiled what had been a great game for Ohio State's Jesse King, who scored five times and assisted on another, including three of the four that the Buckeyes potted in the fourth quarter.

After King's tallies got the visitors to within one, Gordie Koerber netted the equalizer with three minutes remaining off a feed from Charlie Schnider to send it to overtime – a 4-1 fourth quarter scoring swing in favor of Ohio State. Turner Evans assisted on two of King's scores and had a career-high three helpers to go along with a goal on the day.

In-Game Blog Replay

 

"All January we really worked on doing well in the fourth quarter," King said. "We were right there and the defense made some stops that translated to getting us fired up and then going back and putting the ball in the back of the net."

That the Buckeyes were able to make a run after going down by three is a bit of a surprise, given how dominant Johns Hopkins was on the draw all game. Drew Kennedy, who returned to action at the last minute after recovering from an undisclosed injury – went 18-for-22 on the game. Ohio State won just five of the 24 draws all game.

"That's definitely a concern," Buckeyes coach Nick Myers said. "It's an area that we have to develop. We've got a young man coming along... We just tried to create as many 50/50 groundballs [off the draw] that we could, but that's certainly an area we have to work on."

Both starting goalies went the distance in the game, with Johns Hopkins' Eric Schneider earning the win in his first career start, saving 13 in 68:59 of action. Ohio State's Greg Dutton made 11 saves and also had a shot on goal after clearing all the way into the Hopkins zone, causing flashbacks of Brett Queener, who scored while playing for Albany against Hopkins at Homewood Field back in 2007.

The season is young, so both the preseason No. 13 Blue Jays and No. 15 Buckeyes have plenty of work remaining before they're in top form, but they certainly put on a show for the fans in Baltimore and watching along on ESPNU for such an early contest.

Ohio State plays next against Massachusetts on Sunday, February 22nd at the Moe's Southwest Grill Classic in Jacksonville, Fla. Johns Hopkins takes on Towson at home on Saturday, February 15th.


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