Following an uninspired road loss against No. 19 Ohio Sate in which the Knights scored only seven goals, Rutgers looked to get back on track in a top-10 matchup against No. 7 Johns Hopkins in Baltimore on a sunny early spring afternoon. The Blue Jays are always a tough out at Homewood Field and if there was a bad omen to start this game, it was the women’s team falling to the Blue Jays on this same field earlier in the day after Hopkins staged a huge comeback.
Things did not go well for Rutgers in the first quarter, giving up seven goals while netting five. Rutgers grad transfer Kyle Mullin faced seven shots on goal and saved none. Yup, you read that right. Mullins was pulled in the 2nd quarter for 5th year Stony Brook transfer Anthony Palma, who stepped in to a tough situation and played well.
Less than four minutes into the match, both teams had tallied two goals, with Rutgers star attacker Ross Scott scoring fifteen seconds into the game. David Sprock would add Rutgers’s 2nd goal before the Blue Jays countered, knotting the score up 2-2.
Dante Kulas gets on the score sheet, finishing this feed from Shane Knobloch!— Rutgers Men's LAX (@RUmlax) April 1, 2023
JHU 5-3 over #RUMLax in the first quarter pic.twitter.com/ZdnnLev4Ml
Hopkins would then go on a 5-1 run to take a 7-3 lead. The only Rutgers goal was by Dante Kulas, his 24th of the season. The Knights showed signs of life, countering with four consecutive goals, to even the match at 7-7 with a little under six minutes left in the 2nd quarter. Noah Daniels notched the Knight’s 4th goal, Shane Knobloch would add two, and Jonathan Dugenio netted one off a face-off win in which he streaked down the field unimpeded and buried it past Hopkins keeper Tim Marcille. The teams would trade goals with Shane Knobloch bagging a hat trick at the 3:40 mark with his third goal.
What a way to start the second quarter!— Rutgers Men's LAX (@RUmlax) April 1, 2023
Jon Dugenio wins the faceoff and scores it! #RUMLax on a 3-0 run, cutting the deficit to one goal pic.twitter.com/oE9BrFmk8n
The third quarter started promising as birthday boy Justin Kim was inserted into the starting lineup and rewarded coach Brecht with his 2nd and 3rd goals of the season to push the Knights’s lead out to 10-8. The Blue Jays however would not go away, scoring three consecutive goals to retake the lead, 11-10.
Knights Impact transfer Noah Daniels would add his 2nd goal to tie the game up but the Blue Jays would add a goal of their own at the 2:12 and the teams would advance to the final frame with Hopkins holding a tenuous 12-11 advantage.
After Hopkins took a 13-11 lead at the 12:07 mark, Justin Kim would bag his own hat trick with 8:30 remaining and the Knights were once again in striking distance, trailing 13-12. Unfortunately, Rutgers would not find the back of the net again, while conceding three more Blue Jays goals, to drop the match 16-12.
Justin Kim AGAIN!— Rutgers Men's LAX (@RUmlax) April 1, 2023
First career multi-goal game for the #RUMLax senior puts RU ahead 10-8 pic.twitter.com/lwjmkKFj2G
Rutgers falls to 7-3 and an unfamiliar 0-2 in conference play with three games remaining. The Jays improve to 9-3 and with Maryland’s loss to Michigan yesterday, are in pole position in conference play, sitting at 2-0.
This game was eerily similar to the match last Sunday against Ohio State where Rutgers led in many key stat lines. The Knights led in shots (38-28), ground balls (37-25), face-offs (17-14) and were 21-of-23 on clears. Poor goalie play and execution around the net by the Rutgers offense has really slowed this squad down the last two weeks after a very promising start to the season. Unlike last year’s squad, this team doesn’t have that killer instinct to bury teams in the 2nd half, missing out on multiple opportunities to grow the lead and pull away. Coach Brecht alluded to this in his postgame comments.
“There were a lot of little moments throughout the course of a sixty-minute game that we needed to be a little sharper on. Justin Kim stepped up big for us, Shane Knobloch was a threat in the middle of the field. We just needed some other guys to step up and seize the moment for us.”
Head Coach Brian Brecht
- Senior Justin Kim, making his first career start on his birthday, had his first career multi-goal game, bagged a hat trick, and had a career-high four points. I work closely daily with his cousin so it’s very satisfying to see his growth.
- Senior star attacker Brian Cameron played sparingly after sitting out the prior two games due to an undisclosed injury
- Mt. Saint Marys transfer Noah Daniels continues to impress, scoring in his 4th consecutive game
- After Mullin failed to make a save on seven shots on goal and was pulled after the first quarter, Stony Brook transfer Anthony Palma stepped in and held his own, making nine saves while allowing nine goals.
Rutgers returns home after three weeks on the road to face Michigan, who will jump in the rankings after they throttled No. 2. Maryland on Saturday. The game will be Friday night under the lights at 6 pm at SHI Stadium. If Rutgers is serious about making their third consecutive NCAA tourney they absolutely must win two of the final three conference games or be forced to run the table in the B1G tournament.