On a chilly, damp Sunday night at Shi Stadium in Piscataway, 3,200 fans watched the Scarlet Knights earn a hard-fought 12-7 victory over conference rivals Johns Hopkins. The win moves the Knights to 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten. The Blue Jays drop to 5-6 and 1-1 in conference.
The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the 1st quarter on goals by Ronan Jacoby, Brian Cameron and two by Shane Knobloch. The teams would enter the second quarter with RU leading 4-2.
In the 2nd quarter, the Rutgers offense heated up, tallying the first five goals of the period. Ryan Gallagher, Jack Aimone, Zackary Franckowiak and Mitch Bartolo all had unassisted goals. Gallagher notched his 2nd on an assist by Knobloch to give the Knights a commanding 9-2 lead. With the dejected body language of Blue Jays keeper Josh Kirson, it looked as if the Knights would run away in this game like they did in last week’s rout of Ohio State. Hopkins settled in though, scoring the next two goals and the teams headed to their locker rooms with Rutgers leading 9-4 at halftime.
A little over a minute in, Knobloch quickly put the Knights up 10-4 on an assist from Jacoby. The Jays countered with two of their own to pull within four goals, trailing 10-6. The Knights would go ten minutes before Knobloch notched the hat trick, tallying their 11th goal with three minutes left in the quarter. The Jays countered with one of their own as the teams headed to the 4th with the Knights now holding a precarious 11-7 lead.
In what turned out to be a stout defensive battle, Bartolo netted the only goal for either team at the 4:24 mark to salt this game away. Both goalies combined for five stops in the quarter with Colin Kirst making three and Josh Kirson making two.
This was truly a tale of two halves. Credit to the Blue Jays for adjusting at halftime and shutting the Knights’s potent offense almost completely down in the 2nd half. I counted six shot clock violations by the Knights and 7th where they shot the ball in desperation from long range with a tick left.
Hopkins won the face-off battle 14-9. As we have seen, Dugenio’s play can vary greatly game to game. Rutgers will need Dugenio’s A-game next Sunday in College Park if they are to have any chance for the upset over the No. 1 Terps.
Also give credit to Rutgers for really clamping down on the defensive end and proving they can win a rock fight when needed. This Rutgers team clearly has more talent than blue-blood Johns Hopkins and that has to feel good for Scarlet Knight fans.
The Rutgers defense was led by a very active Bobby Russo scooping six ground balls and causing a turnover. Zackary Francowiak played a stellar, physical game causing three caused turnovers and scooping three ground balls. Brennan Kamish caused two turnovers. Colin Kirst made seven saves and as usual, was very solid and active in net and running out in the transition offense.
Bobby Russo said it best about the defensive effort with his post-game quote:
“Getting into Big Ten play, we’re really coming into our own and meshing well on the defensive end. We talk a lot about not getting too high or too low in the moment. When the game slowed down in the second half, we knew we had to adjust to that, not press and just play good defense and that worked out in the end.”
-Defenseman Bobby Russo
- Rutgers is 10-1 through 11 games, marking the fastest RU reached double-digit wins in program history
- The previous fastest was the 1982 team, the first ever RU squad to reach the 10-win plateau, which did so in the 12th game of the season.
- The Scarlet Knights started Big Ten play with a 2-0 record for the second straight season and third time since joining the league.
The one we all have circled on the calendar. The No. 4 Scarlet Knights head down I-95 this coming Sunday to College Park, Md., where they will face the No. 1 team in the nation, Maryland, who enters the matchup with a 9-0 record. Rutgers will be looking for its first win over the Terps since 1980 and second in program history. The game will be broadcast live on Sunday, April 10 at 7pm on BTN.