May 2, 2009

Courtesy of Johns Hopkins

1BALTIMORE, MD - With all due respect to Virginia standout Brian Carroll, who has rightfully earned the nickname of "Big Shot Brian" for his late-game and overtime heroics, Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Brian Christopher (Springfield, PA/Springfield) may want in on the moniker as well. Christopher's career-high-tying fourth goal of the game 25 seconds into the second overtime lifted Johns Hopkins to an 11-10 victory over visiting Loyola before 2,732 fans at Homewood Field Saturday afternoon. The overtime game-winner is the third of Christopher's career and his second in double-overtime in the last 10 days.

The Blue Jays improve to 9-4 with the win, while Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala moves into a tie with Henry Ciccarone for second place on the school's career victories list. Pietramala now sports a record of 105-29 in nine seasons at Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins had what appeared as a comfortable 10-7 lead with less than four minutes remaining and still led 10-8 with less than a minute to play after the Greyhounds' Jake Wilcox (Berwyn, PA/Malvern Prep) had made it 10-8 with a left-handed runner just inside the far post with 3:49 remaining. It had taken the Blue Jays' more than 13 minutes bridging the third and fourth quarters to turn a 7-5 deficit into the 10-7 lead. After JHU turned the ball over with less the 40 seconds on the clock, it took just 19 seconds for Loyola to stage a stunning rally and force overtime.

The Blue Jays milked more than 30 seconds off the clock late in regulation before turning the ball over. When Tim Donovan (Parkton, MD/Loyola) was sent off for a cross check with 32 seconds left, the `Hounds needed just nine seconds to pull to within one at 10-9 as Shane Koppens (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) skipped a pass across the field and found Jimmy Daly (Gibson Island, MD/McDonogh), who rifled home Loyola's second extra-man goal of the game with 23 ticks left on the clock.

Still the Blue Jays seemed to be safe as sophomore Matt Dolente (Phoenixville, PA/Malvern Prep) scooped up the ensuing faceoff and raced down the sideline with possession, only to stripped on a nice back-check by Taylor Ebsary (Amherst, NY/Amherst), who grabbed the ground ball and found senior P.T. Ricci (Wayne, PA/Conestoga) in the middle of the field. Ricci carried towards midfield before rifling a 30-yard pass to Koppens 10 yards in front of the goal. Koppens caught the ball with Blue Jay defender Michael Evans (Davidsonville, MD/South River) draped all over him, spun to the outside and ripped one past Blue Jay goalie Michael Gvozden (Millersville, MD/Severna Park) to send the crowd into a frenzy.

Both teams had chances to win in the first overtime, but Loyola's Collin Finnerty (Garden City, NY/Chaminade) was stripped three yards from the goal after slipping inside the defense and Christopher rang one off the crossbar with 55 seconds left and dinged another off the post 40 seconds later. The Blue Jays didn't manage a shot in the final 15 seconds of the first extra session.

Dolente, who struggled early in the game on faceoffs before rallying to win 11-of-22 on the day, won the opening faceoff of the second overtime and the Blue Jays called timeout. Out of the timeout, Christopher took a pass from Kimmel at the top of the box, swept to his left and then worked his way back to the middle, where he beat Loyola's Jake Hagelin (Havre de Grace, MD/Boys' Latin) from nine yards after splitting a pair of defenders.

In a game that featured seven ties and four lead changes, neither team led by more than one until Loyola got back-to-back goals in a six-minute span in the third quarter off a pair of failed clears by the Blue Jays. Koppens stuck one with 12:27 remaining after Cooper MacDonnell (Darien, CT/Darien) intercepted a Gvozden clearing attempt and Finnerty got his only goal of the game after intercepting a Matt Drenan (San Diego, CA/Rancho Bernardo) pass to Gvozden behind the goal and shooting into an open net.

The Blue Jay defense held Loyola scoreless for more than 17 minutes after Finnerty's goal and the Blue Jays crafted a 5-0 run during that time to turn the two-goal deficit into the 10-7 lead. Kimmel opened the spree when he blew one home off a feed from Christopher and Christopher took the honors himself less than 30 seconds later when he scored in transition off a clear after the Blue Jays won the faceoff after Kimmel's goal.

Back-to-back goals by Wharton - the first coming just seven seconds into the fourth quarter - and a high-to-low shot by senior co-captain Josh Peck (Annapolis, MD/Broadneck) after a nice catch off a curl five yards above the crease gave the Blue Jays the three-goal lead with 6:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. The lead held at three goals until Wilcox hit the runner three minutes after Peck scored. As it turned out, the Greyhounds were just getting going and Christopher's work off the iron in the first overtime was followed shortly after by his school-record third career overtime goal.

Christopher matched his career-high with four goals and five points and Kimmel reached the 100-career point mark with his one goal and two assists. Wharton netted his fifth hat trick of the season and dished a game-high three assists. Gvozden matched his season-high with 15 saves and moved into 10th place on JHU's career saves list (341).

Loyola got two goals and two assists from Koppens, two goals from Wilcox and one goal and one assist from Daly, but the `Hounds managed just a 5-5 halftime tie despite dominating the game statistically through 30 minutes. Loyola won 9-of-12 faceoffs in the first half, outshot the Blue Jays 23-12 in the opening 30 minutes and led in ground balls 23-8 at intermission. But after leading 2-1 and 3-2, they surrendered back-to-back goals to Christopher and needed a Matt Langan (Madison, NJ/Madison) goal with less than two minutes remaining in the half to pull even at intermission.

Johns Hopkins and Loyola will learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Sunday night (May 3) at 9 pm when the bracket for the tournament is announced on EPSNU. Johns Hopkins, with a 9-4 record, the nation's top RPI entering the final week of the season and one of the strongest schedules in the nation, is hopeful of receiving its NCAA-record 38th straight bid to the tournament. Loyola, which missed out on the ECAC's automatic bid to the tournament when Massachusetts beat Rutgers in overtime earlier on Saturday.

#13 Loyola (9-5) 3-2-2-3-0-0/10
#8 Johns Hopkins (9-4) 3-2-2-3-0-1/11

Goals: L: Koppens-2, Wilcox-2, Daly, Finnerty, Atkinson, Langan, Hurst, Lusby. J: Christopher-4, Wharton-3, Kimmel, Bryan, Peck, Boyle. Assists: L: Koppens-2, Basler, Daly, MacDonnell, Ricci. J: Boland-3, Kimmel-2, Christopher, Goodrich. Saves: L: Hagelin-6. J: M. Gvozden-15. Shots: L-47. J-30. EMO: L: 2-for-4. J: 0-for-1. Attendance: 2,732