Maryland continued its scorching start to the 2016-2017 campaign, defeating league rival Virginia Tech 4-1 Friday night at The Gardens Ice House.
After routing Delaware the week prior, the Terps overwhelmed the visiting Hokies with speed and skill, and improved their record to 4-0 on the season.
“We’re pretty happy with the start, to start out 4-0 is what we’re hoping for,” head coach Jim Gaudet said.
In a tight-checking game, Maryland exchanged chances with Virginia Tech through the game’s first 10 minutes, before surrendering an uncharacteristic opening goal.
Goalie Tanner MacPhee appeared to have the puck covered under his glove at the side of the Maryland goal, but the puck found its way through the senior netminder and into the crease, where a waiting Virginia Tech player stashed it into a near empty net.
“The first goal was a rebound I let up and I went to go cover it and my defenseman went to push it into me so I could get it quicker and it just slipped through and that was it,” MacPhee said.
Trailing for the first time all season, Maryland rallied in the second half of the period, taking a one-goal lead into the first intermission after excellent individual efforts by Zach Arden and Nick Keppler respectively resulted in two Terrapin goals.
“We’ve been coming out pretty strong for every game this season and I think that that Virginia Tech team was definitely a better team than we thought they would be,” MacPhee said. “So I mean we definitely battled them back and forth, we came out on top in the first period though, which was huge.”
Strong play from Virginia Tech goalie Tanner Jones held the Terps at bay in the second period until Keppler scored his second goal of the game, putting a low wrist shot through Jones at a tough angle.
“Coach told us before the game to really use our speed,” Keppler said. “There aren’t a whole lot of teams in this division that are going to keep up with us if we skate to our full potential.”
Arden also added to his goal total in the second frame, putting on the moves in front of the opponent’s goal and slipping the puck past a helpless Jones who was caught out of position.
“I think we started wearing them down later with our speed like I was saying earlier, and I think we just really got on them and they lost their legs later,” Keppler said.
“A couple bounces went our way,” Gaudet said. “I thought we controlled the play there for a good part of the first period. Hit a couple posts, their goalie played really well, made a bunch of really nice saves. You know I just think we just kind of [bored] down on the puck and found a way to put it in the net and got a couple bounces that went our way.”
The Terps look to stay undefeated Saturday with a road contest against Rider at 8:30 p.m.
“We have some things we need to work on, another good team we’re playing tomorrow night so we’ll have to bring another good effort tomorrow for sure,” Gaudet said.
Tag(s): UMD D2 Terps