"All we can do is control the tempo of the game more," said Goalie Matthews a little later, sipping soda with his teammates. "It's important for us not to get three or four goals behind."
"That's right, they get a little lead and they start to taste it. That's when they really get going," added All-America Defenseman Jim Ferguson.
"We've gotta play like the Knicks," said Thomas. "We gotta work for the good, open shots."
"We're gonna play a slowdown," concluded Matthews.
Maryland expected Hopkins to stall. Against Virginia in a game last year, the Blue Jays had frozen the ball for long periods. The tactics stirred controversy among lacrosse officials, who see their game beginning to gain popularity and are afraid the stall might turn off potential fans. There had even been some discussion of introducing a shot clock similar to pro basketball's.
What did surprise the Terrapins, who had figured to see a slowdown only if Hopkins took a lead, was the timing of the Blue Jays' stall. Ron Hall won the opening face-off from Besosa, Hopkins cleared into its offensive zone and then held onto the ball for almost 11 minutes. During that time the Blue Jays took two shots, recovering the ball easily after each. The freeze drew hearty boos from the Maryland fans, who comprised roughly half the crowd of 7,117.
But the tactic worked precisely as Scott had hoped. It forced Maryland into a pressing, double-teaming defense, against which Hopkins' one clear edge—the fine stickwork and passing of such players as Thomas and Rick Kowalchuk—could be used to get the ball to shooters left uncovered. Although Hopkins did not again employ a full freeze, it retained enough patience on offense throughout the game to keep Maryland in its most aggressive defense.
The Terrapins, meanwhile, were showing signs of pressure during their rare offensive opportunities. They took only one shot in the first period. Throughout the opening half, their passing was erratic and their shots often inappropriate. Two-thirds of the way through the second quarter, Hopkins had a 5-1 lead. A Maryland goal six seconds before the half cut the lead to 5-2.
During the half Maryland made some subtle adjustments on defense and a big change on offense, switching to a slower pattern, too. From the press box, Scout Craig Hubbard had spotted several Hopkins players he considered incapable of keeping up with certain Maryland players, particularly Schreiber and the hard-shooting Urso. In the second half the Terrapins set up patiently on offense, passing the ball back and forth until Hubbard could call down and tell the coaches on the field who had the advantageous matchup.
With Radebaugh and Besosa winning the face-offs and their teammates taking shots with a little help from above, Maryland scored the first four goals in a 3�-minute span of the third period to take a 6-5 lead. The sixth came on the first of three scoring dashes down the middle by Urso.