COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Justus Pickett ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 9:52 left in the fourth quarter, and Brad Craddock added the tie-breaking extra point to give Maryland a 7-6 victory over William & Mary in the season opener for both teams Saturday.Maryland gave a sloppy performance against its Football Championship Subdivision opponent, which led most of the game before losing its opener for the 10th time in 11 years.The Terrapins won despite turning the ball over four times and missing a short field goal.Freshman quarterback Perry Hills, in his first collegiate start, completed 16 of 24 for 145 yards and directed the winning 10-play, 69-yard drive, but he threw three interceptions.Maryland defensive back Dexter McDougle was called for three pass-interference penalties. Two of them came in the first quarter, when Maryland had many of its problems.The Terrapins turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, when the Tribe took a 6-0 lead on two Drake Kuhn field goals.Maryland missed a short field goal in the second quarter and left the field at halftime to loud boos from the Byrd Stadium crowd.Hills threw an interception on Maryland's second play of the game. DeAndre Houston-Carson picked if off to give the Tribe possession at the Terrapins' 34-yard line.The Maryland defense held and Kuhn kicked a 30-yard field goal for an early 3-0 lead. Later in the quarter, Brian Thompson intercepted Hills as he was being hit and returned the ball 32 yards to the Maryland 9-yard line.The Terrapins held again, and Kuhn's 22-yard field goal gave William & Mary a 6-0 lead with 2:56 left in the quarter.Maryland turned the ball over a third time in the first quarter when Albert Reid fumbled on a run. The Tribe started driving but got a bad break when quarterback Brent Caprio's pass was bobbled by Keith McBride and grabbed by defensive end Joe Vellano at the Maryland 22.Hills then directed Maryland's best drive of the first half midway through the second quarter. He moved the Terrapins 63 yards in 12 plays to a third-and-6 at the William & Mary 7, but missed a wide-open Devonte Campbell in the back of the end zone.Craddock came on but missed a 25-yard field goal wide left.
With the score tied at 0 in the second period, the Caps had a chance to put the first goal on the board on their second power play of the night. Specifically, Evgeny Kuznetsov had a chance to score the first goal of the game and his first of the season. But with a golden opportunity on his stick, Kuznetsov waited too long to shoot the puck the opportunity was lost. It is an issue that has seemingly plagued Kuznetsov throughout his career and one that may have cost the Caps a chance at two points on Tuesday.
After a scrum in the left corner, the puck was fed over to John Carlson on the right near the blue line. With some room to work with, he advanced to the top of the right circle and then fired a pass cross-ice to Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov had set up shop in Alex Ovechkin’s office in the left faceoff circle and the Leafs evidently forgot about him.
RELATED: WHO STOOD OUT BETWEEN CAPS-LEAFS
With the puck on his stick and no one between him and Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen, Kuznetsov waited. He waited so long in fact that forward Connor Brown was able to backcheck and turned what would have been a very good opportunity into a much easier save for Andersen.
“A guy caught him,” Barry Trotz said after the game. “Just get it off quick. Guys close quick on you defensively.”
Would Kuznetsov have scored if he had fired the shot? Would the Caps have won if he had scored? We don’t know, but Kuznetsov would have had a better chance at scoring had he shot the puck quickly and Washington would have been in a better position to win if they had gotten the first goal on the board.
It was just another moment that made fans watching in Capital One Arena and at home yell in unison, “Kuznetsov, shoot the puck!”
In a rematch of last year’s ridiculously entertaining first round playoff matchup, the high-flying Maple Leafs skated away with a 2-0 victory over the Caps on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. The Caps are now 3-3-1 on the season.
Here are Tarik’s three stars of the game.
1-Connor Brown, Maple Leafs
Most people had Brown scoring the decisive goal, right? The winger started the season on the fourth line but was promoted to the third line ahead of this game—and he made the most of the opportunity. At 5:53 of the third period, Brown fought off Evgeny Kuznetsov, pounced on a rebound and pounded the puck between Braden Holtby’s pads. Interestingly, the Leafs came into the game leading the league in goals per at 5.20.
2-Braden Holtby, Capitals
The Caps’ starter did all he could, turning away 28 of 29 shots he faced. Holts was at his best on the penalty kill, where he stopped all three shots the Leafs put on him. His best save of the game likely came in the opening moments of the game—a right pad stop on James van Riemsdyk, who was looking to finish a 2-on-1.
3-John Carlson, Capitals
With Matt Niskanen week-to-week with an upper body injury, the minutes load has fallen on No. 74’s shoulders. And it did again vs. Toronto. Carlson finished with 27:33 of ice time. He also had a couple of good looks early on but he couldn’t finish.
Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
More Capitals: Must See Photos: Toronto 2 Caps 0 10/17/17