By Mike Prince
Haverford School’s Henry Blynn wants everyone to know that the Fords can play with any team in the nation.
And thanks to a superb effort by the Brown University-bound senior attackmen, Haverford School proved just that Thursday afternoon.
Blynn scored three goals and added four assists while helping the Fords to an 11-9 win over previously-undefeated Gilman School for their fourth victory over an MIAA opponent this year.
Entering the game as the No. 6 ranked team in the nation by MaxPreps.com, the Fords (6-1) jumped to a 6-1 lead over the No. 4 Greyhounds (4-1) and staved off a late rally.
“It was a huge win for us,” said Blynn said, whose Fords have also beaten St. Paul’s, McDonogh and Loyola Blakefield of the MIAA, “Especially because we lost to Landon (5-4) early. We definitely didn’t play too well in that game and we wanted to show everyone that we can be the No. 1 team in the nation.
“We wanted to show that we can perform and I definitely think that we came back today and showed the nation that we can play some ball.”
Will McNamara added three goals for Haverford School, which led by as much as 10-5 in the second half.
Max Greene led Gilman with four goals and an assist while Zeke Morrill added two goals as the Greyhounds pulled within 11-9 in the game’s final minutes.
“They really got off to a great start and forced us on our heels a bit,” Gilman coach Brooks Matthews said. “We didn’t really change too much up with what we were trying to do (when we came back both times), but we just didn’t have the ball a lot.”
Haverford School face-off specialist Will Gural won 14 of 22 draws, helping the Fords dominate possessions.
“Haverford was facing off great, possessing the ball great and getting great shots,” said Matthews. “They controlled the game and when they did that, our kids got a little anxious at times and we tried to settle them down and make our possessions count. We worked ourselves close to getting back in the game.”
Before Gilman’s comeback attempts started, it was the Blynn and McNamara show for Haverford.
Gural and McNamara gave the Fords a 2-0 lead and Blynn, on a pass from junior Timmy Brooks, then scored to put Haverford up 3-0.
Gilman did score when Jake Matthai put one past Haverford junior goalkeeper Jake Landman, but the Fords piled it on in the second period.
At the 10:44 mark, Brooks put Haverford School back up by three. McNamara scored 39 seconds later, followed by Blynn’s second goal with his team a man down.
“I definitely respected (Gilman) as a team, but I have a lot of faith in my team and in my teammates, so I wasn’t surprise at how we came out today,” Blynn said. “I knew we were good enough to play with a team like that.”
And while Haverford was dominating at almost every aspect of the game, thanks to its ability to control the ball for nearly the entire first half, it took one major penalty by the Fords to turn things around.
While a man up, Gilman’s Gordie Koerber scored with 6.9 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the Greyhounds’ deficit to four goals. Just a minute and 22 seconds into the third quarter, junior Greene scored his first goal to cut the Haverford lead in half. Greene would score again a minute and 36 seconds later to get Gilman to without two, at 6-4.
But again, Blynn was there to help his team to capitalize, this time assisting on a goal by senior Zach Rego.
“Henry is great,” Fords coach John Nostrant said. “He started the year off really strong and kind of leveled out a little bit, but now he has stepped up his game a lot in the last two games and he has been great. We knew what we had to do today and we tried to control the tempo of the game and that worked well for us.”
After Blynn’s goal, McNamara again followed with another goal of his own, putting Haverford up 8-4. Early in the fourth quarter, Greene scored his third goal, but the Fords had another answer, as juniors Reilly Hupfeldt and Gavin McBride put Haverford back up 10-5.
The Greyhounds made a late push, scoring four of the game’s final five goals – one of which was Greene’s fourth tally of the day – but it was Blynn yet again making sure Haverford wasn’t leaving without a win, beating Bryan Moore with 90 seconds to play to put the game out of reach.
“Gilman is a good, strong, well-coached and athletic team,” Nostrant said. “That was a really big win for us.”
Gilman saw late goals come off the sticks of Harrison McCarthy, Chris Walsch and Cotter Brown. Moore stopped seven shots in net in the losing effort, while Greene gave his all, finishing with a game-high four goals while adding one assist.
“Max is a great player,” Matthews said. “He’s a streaky shooter and he caught on fire in the second half. He is one of those players that makes his own breaks, gets groundballs and rides hard. That is typical of him. He doesn’t score four goals all the time, but he plays hard, shoots hard and is an important player for our team.”
Gilman, which defeated La Salle 9-3 this past Tuesday, yielded just 16 goals in four games against all quality opponents this season before allowing 11 to Haverford. Gilman won the previous head-to-head matchup with Haverford, winning 11-8 back in 2008.
The Greyhounds finished with 25 groundballs to 18 for the Fords. Both teams finished with 32 shots, while Haverford won 14 of 23 faceoffs.
Blynn’s seven points led all scorers, while McBride and Brooks each added an assist to give them both two-point games. Landman stopped nine shots in net for the Fords, a team which Nostrant hopes can get more depth moving forward with the season.
“I want to play more guys,” he said. “I want more depth. We’re not playing enough guys. We’re tired and some guys have to work harder in practice so I can get them in. That’s probably the only thing we really need to work on right now.”
Haverford School 11, Gilman (MD) 9
Haverford School 3-3-2-3 – 11
Gilman 1-1-2-5- 9
Gavin McBride 1g, 1a
Reilly Hupfeldt 1g
Henry Blynn 3g, 4a
Will McNamara 3g
Sam Rohr 1a
Zach Rego 1g
Will Gural 1g
Timmy Brooks 1g, 1a
Face off: Will Gural 14/22
saves Jake Landman 9 saves
Zeke Morrill 2a
Maxx Greene 4g, 1a
Gordie Koerber 1g, 1a
Harry McCarthy 1g
Jake Matthai 1g
Cotter Brown 1g
P. Brown 1a
Chris Walsch 1g
saves Bryan Moore 7 saves
Tags: Haverford School