NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Senior Mike Chanenchuk and freshman Connor Cannizzaro each had four points on three goals and an assist to lead No. 7 Maryland to a 12-8 victory against No. 8 Notre Dame to win the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship on Saturday.
The Terrapins improve to 10-2 on the season and are 4-1 in ACC play. The Fighting Irish fall to 6-5 overall and are 2-3 in the league.
Maryland opened the scoring with patient offense after winning the game’s opening faceoff via a violation. With the timer-on call on, Henry West took the ball on the left alley and buried a quick turn-and-shoot at the 13:38 mark.
The quick start continued for the Terps as Chanenchuk scored from the left alley off a good feed from Cannizzario with 12:04 left on the clock to make it a 2-0 lead.
Notre Dame cut the Terrapins' lead in half at the 10:54 mark when Matt Kavanagh fed Conor Doyle behind the net and Doyle scored around the left side.
The game remained a 2-1 contest, with both teams struggling with turnovers, until the Terps’ extra-man unit got on the field thanks to a cross check penalty called on Matthew Collins. The Irish tried to force the issue, pressing out on Chanenchuk, but when Notre Dame tried to recover back into its shape, it left too much room for Chanenchuk, who was able to step into a shot and bury it into the top left corner with 38 seconds left in the first.
Maryland’s lead grew to three early in the second quarter with Chanenchuk making things happen again. This time he got past his defender and drove down the left alley, drawing an Irish slide. The slide opened up the crease and Chanenchuk found a wide open Matt Rambo who scored on the one-timer at the 13:36 mark.
The Irish extra-man unit got its first chance of the game with 11:01 on the second quarter clock when Casey Ikeda was called for an illegal body check. The Terps forced the ball to the ground, but another illegal body check call on Emmett Cahill put Maryland down two men. That could have proved to be the spark Notre Dame was looking for, but goalie Niko Amato made two big saves to keep the Irish off the board.
The officials put themselves in the spotlight following the second Amato save. Brian Cooper was fouled near the midfield stripe and at the dead ball was pushed by Kavanagh from behind into Doyle, but the refs only saw Cooper hit Doyle and sent him to the box. Notre Dame ended up cashing in on the opportunity as Kavanagh fed John Scioscia on the crease at the 8:45 mark to make it a 4-2 game.
The extra-man game turned in the favor of the Terps again as a high hit on Ikeda by Nick Ossello gave Maryland another man-up chance. This time the Irish didn’t leave Chanenchuk wide open, so the Terrapins used sensational ball movement to get a great look for Joe LoCascio from the left slot and he ripped the ball right over the helmet of ND goalie Conor Kelly.
Maryland went down two players again with multiple penalties with just over two minutes on the clock. The Irish’s Sergio Perkovic got off a shot, but Amato got a piece of it to stave off the first wave. But Perkovic got another opportunity and this time found the back of the net to cut the Maryland lead back to 5-3 with 1:07 left in the second.
All of the momentum seemed to be going in Notre Dame’s direction, but Charlie Raffa won his ninth faceoff of the first half to give the Terps the ball as the clock wound down in the second quarter. Chanenchuk didn’t let the possession go to waste as he laced a shot from the right alley to finish his hat trick with 5.7 seconds left and give the Terrapins a 6-3 lead at the half.
Maryland found a little luck of the Irish for itself at the start of the third to extend its lead to 7-3. West looked to feed the crease from the left alley, but the ball found nothing but turf. Neither team could corral the bouncing ball and it bounded its way past Kelly and into net with 12:37 on the clock.
Kavanagh wouldn’t let the Irish fall behind further at that point, capitalizing on a Maryland turnover with an unassisted goal at the 8:42 mark to make it a 7-4 game.
A strong move from behind the cage by Rambo got him on the doorstep and he easily scored his second goal of the day to up the Maryland lead to 8-4 with 7:00 to play in the third.
Back-to-back goals by Kavanagh and Tyler Brenneman cut Maryland’s lead back to 8-6 with 1:11 left in the third.
Raffa won his 14th faceoff of the day on the ensuing faceoff, but an unforced turnover gave the Irish the chance to make it a one-goal game heading into the fourth. Kavanagh took a good rip from the right alley, but Amato was right there with his eighth save of the day with just three seconds remaining on the clock.
LoCascio seemed to be pushed with possession on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, but no call came from the officials and Notre Dame capitalized on the turnover as Jack Near scored in transition to make it an 8-7 game at the 13:45 mark of the fourth.
Notre Dame tied the game with its fourth straight goal as Kavanagh found Doyle with 11:36 on the clock.
But Maryland responded at the 8:15 mark. West had a good look from the left alley, but he was unlucky this time as his shot rang off the pipe. The Terps however were lucky as the rebound went right to LoCascio and he snuck a shot inside the right pipe to give the Terrapins the lead back at 9-8.
The lead grew to two goals 31 seconds later when Cannizzaro got under his defender and tip-toed the crease and finished past Kelly.
Cannizzaro then gave Maryland an 11-8 lead with an unassisted goal from little-to-no angle off of a time out with the timer on call on with 1:35 on the clock.
He then finished his natural hat trick with an empty-net goal at the 1:16 mark off of a long pass from sophomore Matt Dunn to make the final score 12-8.
Amato finished the game with nine saves, while Raffa won a career-best 20-of-24 faceoffs.
Ikeda led the team with a career-high six groundballs, while senior Michael Ehrhardt also finished with six groundballs. Cooper finished with two groundballs and had a team-high three caused turnovers.