Notre Dame falls to Maryland for first loss of year
Benjamin Padanilam | Monday, March 5, 2018
No. 8 Notre Dame traveled to College Park, Maryland, on Saturday for its first road game of the year in a matchup with No. 2 Maryland. And while it was perhaps the team’s best performance to date, its play was not enough to help them pull off the upset, as the Irish fell at the hands of the Terrapins, 12-10.
“We played better than we’ve played all year,” Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “It’s clearly the best game we’ve played of the three, but it needed to be — we were playing a top-ranked team on the road. But I thought our guys competed very well, but we didn’t do enough things consistently well over the course of the game.”
The Irish (2-1) never took the lead in the contest and trailed for all but 4:03 of game action, but the scoring margin was never larger than four goals. Trailing 8-5 at halftime, the Irish battled their way back into the game by outscoring the Terrapins (5-0) 5-4 in the second half.
Ultimately, the Irish were unable to mount a comeback late, as they failed to garner enough possessions after losing the face-off battle 16-8, including a 10-1 margin in the second half.
“We were hurt by the fact that we didn’t win a lot of face-offs,” Corrigan said. “I mean, those are possessions, and in the second half, when the face-offs were 10-1 [in favor of Maryland], that’s a tough discrepancy.
“ … They did a good job in executing their face-off game better than we did, and we need to be better at that. Our whole team needs to be better at that, not just our face-off guys.”
However, the Irish were able to make the most of their offensive possessions, continuing their streak of scoring double-digit goals in every game this season while turning the ball over a season-low eight times.
“I think we played well offensively,” Corrigan said. “We didn’t turn the ball over — to be honest with you, even with the low number of turnovers, we had two or three that were just completely silly, ones you’re not expecting. So really felt good about what we did offensively. Again, we’re at a discrepancy in terms of possessions, and so I thought we did a pretty good job.”
Offensively, the Irish were led on the day by junior attack Ryder Garnsey, as he notched four goals and an assist in the contest. Garnsey started all 14 games last season, but he has come off the bench so far in two of the team’s three games, including Saturday, after an offseason that almost saw Garnsey transfer from Notre Dame after he received his release to do so. Corrigan said whether or not the junior attack starts is not important to him, but Saturday’s performance was one of the best he’s seen from Garnsey.
“That’s not as important to me as how he’s playing, and I think that’s as well as I’ve seen him play, all in all,” Corrigan said. “It wasn’t just what he did, it was what he didn’t do, and so I thought he was very good on the day, so very happy for him.”
The other standout performer for the Irish was senior attack Mikey Wynne, who scored two goals and assisted on two others on the day. The second goal Wynne netted gave him 112 for his career, moving him past former Irish midfielder and teammate Sergio Perkovic on Notre Dame’s career scoring list, putting him sixth all-time.
“Mikey’s a terrific kid and a terrific player,” Corrigan said. “He continues to make plays for us in pretty much every game he plays in, and I’m happy for him. Those are milestones that mean something when you’re done. … He’s been extremely productive for us for four years now.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Irish saw freshman Matt Schmidt start in goal for the third game this season, but he was pulled in the second half for senior Owen Molloy. Schmidt allowed 10 goals and had seven saves in 40 minutes, while Molloy had four saves and conceded two goals in the final 20 minutes of action. Corrigan said the move to Molloy during the game was not a sign of the team’s lost confidence in Schmidt, and there has not yet been a consideration of making a change at the goalie position.
“Matt was maybe seeing the ball a little less well than he has,” Corrigan said. “We have great faith in Matt and Owen, so it’s not like we feel like the wheels are coming off to go to Owen, because we think he’s a terrific goalie. But we believe in Matt, too.”
Notre Dame will next take the field Saturday when No. 5 Denver comes to town. The opening face-off between the two squads is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Arlotta Stadium.