(Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)
With a nine-point outing from Chris Gray leading the way, the North Carolina Tar Heels took down the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays 15-10 on Saturday afternoon.
Gray’s seven goals and two assists that led to his nine-point outing, which ties his best performance as a Tar Heel, was just the tip of the iceberg for Carolina. Nicky Solomon scored three goals dished out three assists while Jacob Kelly and Lance Tillman each had three points off two goals and one assist. That core group of four accounted for all but one of the Tar Heel’s 15 goals and a total of 21 points on the day.
At the faceoff dot, the Tar Heels had a more than solid day with Andrew Tyeyar going 12-for-20 and Zac Tucci going 7-for-9 in the action he saw.
On top of their success at the dot and the high offensive output from Gray, the Tar Heels leaned on a strong ride and strong defensive effort as Johns Hopkins went 21-for-24 in the clearing game, got off 35 shots to Carolina’s 50, and committed 15 turnovers (eight caused).
After a Hopkins goal courtesy of Garrett Degnon to knot things all up at 5 with nine minutes left in the first half, it was pretty much all Tar Heels as they went on a 9-1 run that lasted through the 13:58 mark in the fourth to take control and get ahead 14-6 late in the game.
Three straight from Joey Epstein pulled the Blue Jays within five with just over seven minutes left in regulation and seemed to give Hopkins some much-needed momentum, but Gray got his final tally less than a minute later to put Carolina back up six. The Blue Jays had seven failed shot opportunities in the final 6:13 of the game, two of which ended with Colin Krieg saves.
Jacob Angelus scored the final goal of the game with nine seconds left, but it was already too late for the Blue Jays.
Joey Epstein had four goals, which included his natural hat trick in the fourth quarter, to lead the way for the Hopkins offense. John Kirson made 20 saves in cage.
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