(4) Penn State v. (1) Johns Hopkins
Final Score: 14-9, Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins and Penn State played a thrilling double overtime game a few weeks ago. After one half at Byrd Stadium in the first semifinal of the Big Ten Tournament, it looked like we were going to get a repeat performance: After quickly going down 5-0, the Nittany Lions went on a 6-0 run to take a brief 6-5 lead over the Jays. Hopkins would even the score at six, though, thanks to Connor Reed's second goal of the first half. The teams went into locker room locked at six with the potential for an exciting finish awaiting in the second half. The scoreboard's reality at the intermission, however, was the closest Penn State would get to Hopkins over the final 30 minutes as the Blue Jays dropped the hammer in the second half and outscored Penn State 8-3 in the final two periods.
Hopkins received a balanced scoring night from its offense. Nine different Jays scored at least one goal for Johns Hopkins with Shack Stanwick and Reed each burying a hat trick. Much maligned goaltender Eric Schneider had a great second half with seven stops to add to his three saves from the first half. Given its up and down season, it is pretty amazing that the Jays are one win away from securing an automatic bid to The Show.
(3) Ohio State v. (2) Maryland
Final Score: 9-6, Ohio State
Less than two weeks ago, the Buckeyes gave up a late lead to Maryland before falling to the Terps in overtime at The Horseshoe. Ohio State followed that performance with an implosion against Rutgers a week later. Going into Thursday night's game, it would be fair to say that not many people had high hopes for Ohio State. But someone forgot to tell Nick Myers and his troops that the Buckeyes were underdogs in their rematch against Maryland. After a relatively light scoring first half, Ohio State hit the nitrous oxide in the second half and turned a 3-2 halftime deficit into a 9-6 victory. The Buckeyes absolutely owned the Terps in the fourth quarter, outscoring Maryland 5-1 in the final stanza.
With Jesse King limited to one goal on the night, the Buckeyes found the scoring punch they needed elsewhere as four different Buckeyes -- Carter Brown, David Planning, Colin Chell and Turner Evans -- each had two tallies. Ohio State got a great game in the crease from Tom Carey, who finished up the night with eight stops and held Maryland to one goal in both the second and fourth quarters. Ohio State really needed this win and the Buckeyes came through with a solid all-around effort. The team's meeting with Hopkins on Saturday should feature great intensity as both teams are on shaky at-large grounds.