Ugh, it’s the game I dread every year. For some reason, I never like the matchup. Fortunately, we did not run across them last year in the NCAA Tourney, which was a relief. This year, however, JHU is probably better than they were last year. And if it wasn’t for the Hoos garnering the top spot in the preseason polls, they would most likely own the top line. Well, this weekend we will find out who is on top as #2 comes to #1.
So far this year, Hopkins is 7-0, and most of those games weren’t close. They have defeated Towson, Delaware, Siena, #12 Princeton, Manhattan, UMBC, and #8 Syracuse. Not too bad of a schedule, but the Hoos have faced 3 Top 20 teams, and 2 when they were at #3.
The big guy for JHU is Zach Palmer. He has 26 points on the season, with 11 goals. Right next to him is Brandon Benn, who leads the team with 15 goals. on the season. But the most interesting player for the Jays is Wells Stanwick, and if that name rings a bell, it should. It’s Steele’s little brother. It should be a family reunion in Charlottesville this weekend.
The good thing about this matchup is it will not be slow paced. Hopkins averages around 10.5 goals per game and has plenty of weapons at their disposal in the fast break game. Virginia has had the knack this year to get down early and then come back to win in a shootout. Virginia will have to own the first period, especially in the faceoffs, which have dipped to last seasons levels. If we are able to save some of those JHU lasers coming at RF, we need to clear the ball. I understand that we like to set back and not pressure clears, but the Jay will be pressing and we need to find a way not to turn it over on the change of possessions. With this game being in Charlottesville, look for another close one, hopefully going our way.