May 10, 2014

Chanenchuk Caps Terp Comeback with Two Seconds Left

by Megan Schneider | | Live Blog Replay | Twitter

Mike Chanenchuk scored the game-winning goal with two seconds left to cap Maryland's rally from a four-goal halftime deficit in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

© John Strohsacker/

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — With only two seconds left on the clock, senior Mike Chanenchuk sunk the game winner low and away following sophomore Henry West’s long skip pass to cap Maryland's rally from a four-goal halftime deficit for an 8-7 victory over Cornell in the opening round of the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse championship.

“I knew that the clock was winding down,” said Chanenchuk. “For a goalie, I know [Terps goalie] Niko [Amato] would say it’s probably the most difficult when the ball’s swinging all the way across, so I just thought if I could just catch it and get it off quick, I was going to have the advantage on their goalie and I got lucky there.”

With a tied ball game, it came down to the wire in the final minute starting with a Terps timeout with 53 seconds on the clock and then another with nine seconds remaining. Maryland coach John Tillman sensed the officials would call a timer-on situation, and with 31 seconds to play, that’s exactly what they did.

The Terps finagled to get a shot off within one second and then Chanenchuk picked up a crucial ground ball to maintain possession.  

“That’s how close sometimes winning and losing is,” said Tillman. “Michael Chanenchuk showed so much courage today. It wasn’t an easy matchup for him. He’s been hobbling a little bit, but to come out and to pick up that tough ground ball with nine seconds left and fittingly get the last goal shows so much of what this team just is, grinding and fighting and getting that second chance opportunity and making the most of it.”

Arguably, it was one of Maryland’s toughest matchups of the season. The Terps were held scoreless until Chanenchuk got them on the scoreboard at the 6:01 mark in the second quarter – the longest scoring drought that Cornell held an opponent to this year.

The Big Red grabbed an early lead with four consecutive goals by Connor Buczek, Mike O’Neil and two by Matt Donovan, the first of which came within 41 seconds of the opening faceoff.

Then to finish out the half, Donovan scored his third for his eighth hat trick of the season, taking Cornell to a 5-1 lead.

During halftime, Maryland regained its composure after some choice words from senior captain Tyler Adelsberger.

“Tyler Adelsberger gave a speech and I thought it was great,” said Tillman. “He just talked about how we’ve got 30 minutes left. ‘How are we going to approach it? Is this going to be our last 30 minutes? Is this how you’re going to go out?’ Something to that affect. Obviously I can’t use every word he used but I think it was passionate and it came from the heart. The younger guys took it to heart and we got a reset and the kids just played like it was 0-0.”

The frustration kicked in and the Terps came out with the fire they needed to turn the game around. Jay Carlson, Matt Rambo and Connor Cannizzaro scored three consecutive goals to make it a one-goal game, the last of two coming off assists from Chanenchuk.

In a series of extra man opportunities, John Hogan scored for the Big Red and then Rambo scored his second unassisted to start the fourth quarter.

Yet about one minute later, Donovan capitalized on the one-on-one against Maryland’s Goran Murray while rolling the crease and then dished it behind Amato’s back to Dan Lintner for a goal. With that point, Lintner extended his scoring streak to 16 games.

“Unfortunately, we gave [Donovan] a little help and Donovan’s such a good player that when we did help, he actually got an assist to Lintner and we probably showed a little too much there,” said Tillman on changing the defensive scheme to try to help Murray and turn the tables in their favor.

With just under 10 minutes to play, Rambo earned a hat trick to bring it within one and Cannizzaro finally tied the score 7-7 for the first time during the game with 8:12 remaining. Then the Terps’ last goal by Chanenchuk was their first lead that sealed the deal for the win.

“During timeouts, the older guys and coaches had the younger guys’ backs saying, ‘Don’t worry about it. They’re going to fall.’ So I wasn’t rushed and wasn’t really worried about it because they’re going to fall and they did,” said freshman Rambo.

Amato had eight saves for the day, seven of which came in the first half. With the turnaround in the second half, Amato saw less shots and was thankful the Terps came away with the win.

Last year, Cornell defeated Maryland 16-8 in a first round matchup in the NCAA Tournament, but couldn’t pull through today.

“It was exactly what we expected in terms of the pace of the game, the intensity of the game, and unfortunately, they got that last possession and were able to capitalize,” said Cornell coach Matt Kerwick.

The last time the Big Red lost a first round game was in 2008 against Ohio State.

“We watched a lot of film with Coach K,” said Donovan. “They told me things that Goran does. I felt that I got a step on him. I’m a little quicker than him, I thought. He’s a little stronger, but on the attack, it’s a quickness game. I had a pretty good day, but I would trade zero goals and zero assists for a win.”

Maryland moves onto a quarterfinal matchup next Saturday at Hofstra against the winner of Sunday's Syracuse-Bryant first round game.

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