The low-scoring play of the first quarter continued into the second period, with Duke controlling time of possession early but unable to get one past Hopkins goalie Michael Gvozden. But with just over five minutes in, Blue Jay Brian Christopher found the back of the net, streaking down the right side and firing one past Dan Loftus. That goal tied the score at two, as the Blue Devils — aside from Zack Greer’s goal — have struggled to get out in the fast-paced transition game that has allowed its offense to be so successful this year.
With 5:35 remaining in the quarter, Johns Hopkins’ Steven Boyle initiated from behind the cage, curling around and one-handing a shot past Loftus to untie the game. Just 14 seconds later, the Blue Jays struck again as Boyle fed Kevin Huntley for an over-the-shoulder goal to give Hopkins a 4-2 lead.
Duke generated a couple scoring opportunities in the final minute of play, but Gvozden turned away two Matt Danowski attempts, and Max Quinzani was unable to get off a shot at the buzzer. The Blue Devils are held scoreless for the quarter, just the fourth time that has happened this season.
So for the first time all year, Duke enters the break trailing. It was the Blue Devils’ lowest-scoring first half this season, and tied for the team’s worst half of 2008 — Duke was outscored 8-2 in the second half of its lone loss of the year, to Georgetown March 22.
If the Blue Devils are to avoid scoring in single digits for just the second time this season — and, more importantly, losing to Johns Hopkins for the third straight tournament — they will need crisper play on the offensive end. The Blue Jays’ long possessions seemed to frustrate Duke, as the Blue Devils rushed passes and made mistakes they don’t normally make.
–by Joe Drews